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KCK residents say water fees on BPU bill skyrocketed

Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 19:13:24-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Many Strawberry Hill residents say they're noticing their water bills skyrocket. 

Tyler Coey is one of them. 

"$79 in water, which used to be like 30 bucks in water, and that's excessive. $89 in sewer," Coey said. 

Many residents took to the Nextdoor app to compare the changes in recent months. They are noticing an increase in their overall BPU bill as well. 

"Over time, yeah, I've been seeing a very steady increase with literally no difference to my usage," Coey said. 

Many have an issue with their water charges and their water pollution abatement, or sewage fees. 

One CCF unit, which measures how much water you're using, is equal to 748 gallons. Some people are reporting their bills reading 18 CCFs and even into the 50s and 60s, which is mind-blowing for them. 

Josie Garcia said her BPU bill has gone from $200 to $400 and in the last few months, jumped to $600. 

Garcia said BPU changed the meter and HomeServe, a home repair company that partners with BPU, has come to her home, but the meter is still reading extremely high usage numbers. 

In June, her bill read eight CCFs which is about normal for a family of four like hers. In August, she said the bill read 60 CCFs, which is 44,880 gallons of water. 

"In a 30-day period it's more than astronomical," Garcia said. 

Coey said he's called BPU as well.

"How is this even possible? And they say, 'Well maybe there's a leak,'" Coey said.

Coey said BPU found no leak, but he received no other explanation. 

"We've only been told, pay or it gets shut off. We have paid, we're not on a level payment plan. This bill is greater than my car note," Garcia said. 

Nina Zuniga, who also lives in Strawberry Hill, said her bill is getting out of control.  It's up to $730 this month because she just can't keep up. 

"I am struggling as a single mom living on one income to pay my [BPU] bill, and the payment plans are ridiculous. They tack on what you owe on top of your next bill which makes it much more expensive I don’t see how this helps!" Zuniga said. 

Another resident, Annabeth H, said she's never had a bill over $500 until the last couple months. 

"The last 3 months our bill has more than doubled for usage while we were even completely out of town for and everything was shut off. We are being billed for usage we cannot possibly even use," Annabeth said. 

Residents started this petition, calling for an audit of BPU. 

41 Action News called BPU's chief communications officer David Mehlhaff, who said the problem was only at one household, although there were many households voicing concerns online.  Mehlhaff said crews were looking into the problem but did not offer any other response.