in Houston, Texas
Fighting city hall: Houston man's $2,500 water bill adjusted down to $3.74
Monday, Nov 15, 2010, 01:08PM CST
By Steve Miller

Houston resident Morris Wiegman beat City Hall in a battle over a $2,500 water bill.


Now he owes less than he ever has: the city of Houston's Public Works and Engineering Department called him in the wake of last week's Texas Watchdog story on his situation and told him the bill for that month was now $3.74. His average bill for the year, until the four-figure wallop in September, was $38.


“They said they would take my average consumption and apply that to create my new bill for that month,” said Wiegman, 65. “It doesn’t reflect my usage, but I didn’t want to ask any questions for fear something more might go wrong."


Following the Nov. 9 Texas Watchdog story, two Houston TV stations followed up on the story: Channel 39 and KPRC 2A mention on MSNBC's site didn't hurt either.


“We do accident investigations constantly, and when these things come up, they are red flags. We jump on them quickly,” said Alvin Wright, a spokesman for the public works department. Wright said the news coverage played no role in the billing adjustment.


Wiegman is not alone in being a victim of erroneous water billing. A Facebook page is devoted to such outrages and offers the tale of a 98-year-old man in Palestine, Texas, who was socked with a $7,000 water bill.


Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

Photo of 'faucet' by flickr user Joe Shlabotnik, used via a Creative Commons license.


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Latonuga Thompson
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