Report: Palestine's water meters tend to overcharge - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Report: Palestine's water meters tend to overcharge

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PALESTINE (KYTX) - A new report shows the city-provided water meters have a tendency to over charge people. The city says the ones sampled for the report have been replaced, but what about thousands of others?

Over a year ago, an independent report randomly sampling water meters around the city looked at 106 of them and found that most of them are measuring incorrectly.

Palestine's former mayor dropped the wet bomb-shell on an unsuspecting public last week during KNET's Meddling in the Morning show.

"Talk radio brings issues to light," KNET & KYYK News Director Gary Richards said.

Richards said he's glad someone's willing to drag secrets out into the open.

"If you've been paying a very high water bill and you're paying for water you didn't use, needless to say you'd think you'd be refunded for it or the situation would be brought under control," he said.

It's all based on that water meter testing report showing most of the meters examined claimed customers were using more water than they really were. The overcharges ran as high as 208 percent--charging for two gallons when one was used.

"You're not charged for more than 5,000 gallons until you get over the 6,000 gallon mark," City Manager Wendy Ellis told KNET in a recent interview. "So there's already a thousand-gallon cushion in our billing."

We had trouble tracking down the city manager Wednesday.

"We don't know that we have an overwhelming, widespread problem," Ellis said in the KNET interview. "We do know we have the potential for some meters to register high based on the testing that was done."

People we talked with in town all said they were worried the problem is widespread and complained about high water bills. Ellis told KNET the water department will check any meter at a customer's request to make sure it is no more than 3 percent off.

"And if your meter is testing outside those parameters, we'll get it replaced," she said.

Richards said the city has its work cut out.

"They don't trust their government, whether it's city, state or federal government, so they want to know," he said. "And they want to know if it's going to be fixed and how it's going to be fixed."

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