After several high bills, Florence man records water meter acting strangely

Posted: Updated:
Steven Pena said he recorded his water meter acting strangely. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Steven Pena said he recorded his water meter acting strangely. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Last month, Pena's meter registered 24,000 gallons of water used, enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Last month, Pena's meter registered 24,000 gallons of water used, enough to fill a backyard swimming pool. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Pena says he’s had Johnson Utilities come out twice to check his meter. Both times he says he was told it was working fine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Pena says he’s had Johnson Utilities come out twice to check his meter. Both times he says he was told it was working fine. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FLORENCE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Florence man catches his water meter spinning wildly, but says no one was even in the home to use any water.

Steven Pena, a Johnson Utilities customer, says after months of mysteriously high bills, he has finally caught on camera what he thinks might be causing the spike.

[RELATED: Ex-AZ Corp. Commissioner, owner of Johnson Utilities indicted on bribery charges]

Cell phone video shot by Pena Monday night seems to show the analog dial on the water meter outside his home tallying gallons at high speeds.  

"Wow, you just heard it clicking right?" Pena can be heard saying in the video.

It was the sound of water being consumed, water Pena says he's not using.

Last month, his meter registered 24,000 gallons of water used, enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.

"I don’t have a swamp. I don't have a swimming pool. I have no pets. There's nothing that would account for almost 1,000 gallons of water being used a day here at this house," he said.

His average from last year was closer to 3,000 gallons per month. He started noticing his bills going up starting in April. 

[READ MORE: Johnson Utilities issues drinking water warning]

Pena says he had a plumber come out and check for leaks, but found nothing.

Now he thinks he finally knows what's going on.

"This meter's rolling by itself and it's happening at night. I caught it happening at night, and no one knows how long this has been going on for,” said Pena.

Pena says he’s had Johnson Utilities come out twice to check his meter. Both times he says he was told it was working fine.

We called Johnson Utilities and were told they'd look further into Pena’s complaint.

[RELATED: 3OYS reveals several complaints against Johnson Utilities]

"This is the only provider we can go to as consumers, being stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, I’d like someone to at least take some accountability," said Pena.

If you're having issues with your water meter or your bill, the Arizona Corporation Commission says it wants to hear from you. They ask that you file a complaint with them in addition to letting your utility company know about the issue so they can do their own independent investigation.

An ACC spokesperson says in August they received about 90 complaints against Johnson Utilities. 

[RELATED: Sky-high Buckeye water bills going on for years]

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

Hide bio