City of San Diego responds to high bill complaints, stands by its water meters

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The city of San Diego is standing by its new water meters despite resident complaints of skyrocketing bills without leaks.

"I am absolutely confident that these meters are reading accurately," said Michael Vogl, the city's public utilities deputy director, who oversees water billing.

Families from Mountain View to Scripps Ranch have contacted 10News to complain of the high bills, some doubling or tripling to more than $1,000. They say they've never had bills that high and that they or their plumbers haven't found a leak. So many have concluded that the city's water meters are off.

Vogl said there's almost always a different cause for the spike.

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"They're tested, they go through an extensive quality control process," he said. "Very rarely is there a problem with a new meter."

The city is currently working to install more than 200,000 smart meters in residences. Vogl said new meters can cause bills to increase 8 to 10 percent because they are more accurate.
 
He told 10News the city has looked into concerns in areas where people have reported substantially higher bills, and that a leak is usually to blame.

"There are many types of likes that are not leaking 100 percent of the time, like a stuck open flapper on a toilet, or irrigation leaks when you're irrigation system's on. Those types of things would never be detected," Vogl said.

  You can ask the city to come out and test your meter, but if it turns out it's working you'd owe them about $65. Families can arrange for the test by calling customer care at (619) 515-3500.

But that's not their only option. The city will come to your house to check for leaks and give you water saving tips for free. Click here for more information on that program.

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