PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester man is fighting a very expensive water bill that left him stunned.

His usual payment surged by nearly 2,000-percent, and the city said his water meter is to blame.

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“When I got that bill I was afraid to turn this on, but we have to it’s our life. We have to use it,” Hugo Real told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

Real, of Peekskill, said he received a jaw dropper of a water bill.

For years, $100 a month was the upper limit, so he couldn’t believe what he saw.

“$1,871.94. That’s what due,” he said.

The big extra charge came right after the city installed a new meter in the utility room. The city considered the old one more than just outdated, but also defective.

Real was told the previous meter got his water usage numbers wrong going back years.

A graph on the bill illustrated the difference.

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“I thought a pipe must have burst underground or a leaks somewhere,” Real said.

The city said Real and a number of other Peekskill homeowners who were apparently undercharged, must make it right.

“It should be a loss for them, because it’s not our fault,” he said.

Real said he has to take the city’s word for it that the old meters were wrong, but he wonders if the new ones are trustworthy.

“You’re telling me that the meter says one things, and then how would I know?” he said.

CBS2 contacted the mayor, but got the runaround — a trip to city hall found the mayor and city manager already gone for the holiday weekend.

Real said until he gets an answer, he’ll pay only the minimum amount. He’s also reaching out to neighbors to find out who else shares his water woes.

Real said at least three of his neighbors have a similar problem.

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