Faulty water meter causes billing problem

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PHOENIX -- Phoebe Ford lives in a small home that she says is full of love. That's because she shares it with her daughter and grandchildren. And like any other family, they all depend on running water.

"Showers and cooking and cleaning," Ford explained.

And Ford says, for the most part, their water bill is usually pretty consistent month after month.

"It shouldn't be over $65 to $70," she said.

However, when the family received a recent water bill, it was a whopper!

"I got a bill for $917.22," Ford said.

They called the city of Phoenix to inquire about the large and unusual bill and were surprised to hear the answer.

"It's been broken, here's your bill of $900," Meganne Martinez described.

Turns out, Ford claims the city acknowledged there was a problem with a faulty water meter. But, like it or not, the city was demanding payment or their water would be shut off. So, Ford contacted 3 On Your Side.

"We can't live without water," Ford said.

3 On Your Side contacted the city of Phoenix. The city looked into the matter and admits there was a faulty water meter which gave the false impression that Ford and her family had used no water.

In fact, according to their bill, there's no water usage during those months at all.

However, the city has now fixed the meter, meaning the family should be back to their regular water bills again and their water won't be shut off.

"We need the water," Martinez said.

The city of Phoenix says Ford and her family will still have to pay for all those months they were not billed.

However, the city plans on monitoring the family's water usage to ensure the amount they are back charged is correct.