SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Water utility providers, including the City of Savannah, are responding to customer complains of sudden, dramatic water bill increases in recent months.
More than a half-dozen people contacted WSAV to complain of the unexpected water bill increases, but a trio of providers tell the same story. The City of Savannah, Consolidated Water Management, LLC, and Consolidated Utilities say these complaints are lodged every year as their customers suffer sticker shock at the seasonal change in their own water usage.
Tony Daguillo, Customer Service Manager with Water Utilities Management, LLC says many of their 25,00 customers in 13 counties don’t initially realize they’re using more water during the summer. “Seasonally, we do always see higher water bills, ah, and it really comes down to, more than anything, outdoor watering. Any kind of summer, outdoor water use is where we see the biggest change from winter to summer,” Daguillo said.
The City of Savannah agrees with Daguillo’s assessment. Public Information Coordinator, Saja Aures said in a written statement:
“Every summer, we see an uptick in customers talking about high water bills. When investigated, invariably the high bills are due to a seasonal increase in water usage. Summertime is a very water-hungry season—the average Savannah resident uses about 85 gallons of water a day in winter, that usage rate jumps to 125 gallons a day in summer. During summer, we increase outdoor watering/irrigating of lawns and gardens, and we engage in more outdoor water recreation, like filling pools or running the sprinklers for the kids to splash around in. As an example, running a typical sprinkler from a standard garden hose for one hour uses about 1,020 gallons of water; if you run it three times per week that is about 12,240 gallons per month usage.”
Every overbilling claim is investigated, according to Aures and Daguillio, who says it’s important because while meter readings are almost always accurate, human error can be a factor.
“I do have meter readers that are out there reading it and it’s possible for them to see a 3 when it’s an 8 or transpose a digit…it’s relatively rare,” said Daguillo adding in those cases the billing error is corrected.
The City of Savannah echoes that feeling and mirrors those actions according to Aures.
“We do have an internal protocol for responding to high water bill complaints. We work with customers to look into their account and usage history,” she stated. “We offer meter rechecks, supervisor inspections, and guided home water audits. We’ll help customers learn how to read their meters and monitor their own usage at home. However, we can’t take any of these steps if we don’t know about a customer’s concerns.”
Water bill questions:
City of Savannah Customer Service
Monday through Friday, 8:15 am to 5 pm.
Water Utility Management, LLC
Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.