FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Some Fair Lawn, New Jersey residents say their water bills have nearly tripled and they’re blaming their meters.
“I’m upset,” said Adi Vaxman, who told CBS2’s Jessica Borg that she’s been pouring over her bills from the water department and the most recent one from November 30th doesn’t add up. “My average bill for this time of year is about $300-350.”
She says nothing has changed about her family’s water usage and the water department’s rate hasn’t gone up.
Stacey Rosen says her bill has increased, as well.
“Mine has gone up like $100-150 the past two quarters,” she said. “We’re only two people in the house, so we don’t use that much water.”
Both Vaxman and Rosen say they got their skyrocketing bills after the borough installed new meters at their homes.
Fair Lawn is one of the few remaining boroughs that provides its own water services.
When Rosen called the water department to ask about her bill, she says the response she got was, “You could have a leaky toilet, a leaky faucet, and if it’s leaking continuously, that could add to your water bill.”
“There is no leak, everything’s fine,” Vaxman said.
The borough confirms it has received some complaints about higher bills, but says the difference might be due to inaccurate readings from older meters.
“If over seven years, your meters haven’t been accurate and I’ve been maybe under-paying, all of a sudden in one quarter I’m paying for an entire year of water consumption? That makes no sense,” Vaxman said.
The deputy borough manager said it is investigating each complaint.
“It’s not a money grab at all. It’s basically the water that’s being used,” said Kenneth Garrison.
Officials say the borough has installed about 4,000 new meters and has about 7,000 more to go – it’s an ongoing process in the new year. They’re anticipating more complaints and more investigations.
The borough says many of the meters it replaced were roughly 20 years old.