A woman uploaded a video to TikTok in which she shared how she was overcharged $337 on her water bill.
Texas-based TikToker Nicole Thramer (@tramewreck) issued a PSA to other residents of the Lone Star State who may be “going broke paying for [their] water usage every month,” by highlighting her own experience with an inflated water bill.
@tramewreck PSA: if you’re living in Texas and paying an absurd amount of money for water usage‼️ Glad I called this time and didnt just pay it like last time… #fyp #texasenergy #waterbill #cheating ♬ original sound – Nicole Thramer
“So a couple days ago I got billed $426 for our water usage for last month. This is after we paid $250 the month before and $90 a month before that.” She said that when she received the bill for $250, she decided to become more conscious about her household’s water consumption. “We’ve been watering the grass too much, we just gotta cut it back.”
However, Nicole was shocked to subsequently receive a bill the following month that was even higher. “We went from $90, to $250, to now $426. And we cut back on water every single time,” she said confused.
This prompted Nicole to reach out to the city’s water department. “I said hey like my bill’s $426, like we have two people living at home like what is going on? And they said well it’s just through your rental company you need to contact them and yadda yadda yadda he didn’t really wanna help me. But towards the end of the call he said well I can put in a request for somebody to look at your account and make sure it was calculated correctly.”
Soon after, she said that the water department emailed her to let her know there had been an error in calculating her bill. “[They] basically said oh we accidentally charged you a higher rate for how much you’re usage was, like, here’s $337 back.”
“My bill was $89 and they accidentally charged me $426,” she summed up, also adding, “If you got charged an astronomical amount for water this last month and you think it’s a little fishy, go ahead and give them a call.”
The video received over 717,000 views, and several commenters urged Nicole to have her previous $250 bill re-assessed.
One user who claimed to work for a water company informed Nicole that she should be able to get price adjustments for her previous four monthly charges: “I work for a water company in Texas and you CAN have them evaluate your previous high bills. Ask for the meter reads for the past four months.”
Another offered up a bit of practical advice: “Watch your water meter, every month on the 24th write down the number on the meter and that’s how you’ll know how much water your using.”
Many other users said that they were more concerned with the increases in their monthly electricity bills than what they were paying for water.
“Fudge the water bill. Mines 45$. I need this damn electricity bill fixed,” one person wrote.
Another echoed, “It’s more the electricity out here than the water.”
One user pointed out, “The sad part is if you wouldn’t have asked about it, they would expect you to pay it all.”
According to Click 2 Houston, local news affiliate KPRC 2 reports that a number of Texans have been overcharged for water usage after wrong meter reads. The outlet launched a “massive investigation into the City of Houston[‘s] water department,” and the findings would probably anger home owners everywhere.
“KPRC 2 Investigates discovered the City of Houston was overcharging homeowners for more than 10 times the water they used because city employees were incorrectly reading their water meters. Investigator Amy Davis stepped in when customers were feeling absolutely DRAINED while trying to make the Houston water department listen to reason for more than three months.”
KPRC 2 also reports that customers were overcharged on their bills because whoever was assessing the water meters either didn’t know how to read them properly, or intentionally lied about the amount of water that they were using. “If you have ever looked at your water meter you know it is just a series of numbers. 0-0-6-4 could mean you used 64 hundred gallons of water. But for dozens of homeowners in brand new homes, the water department was charging them for 64,000 gallons of water. The error left them owing hundreds more dollars than they should have.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Nicole via TikTok comment for further information.