Residents demand answers about high water bills

SAN DIEGO – At a meeting Monday night, Rancho Bernardo residents met with representatives from the City of San Diego to demand answers about their high water bills.

The meeting at the Rancho Bernardo Public Library was the third hosted by the city to address residents’ concerns.

The room was set up for 100 people, but many more showed up, bills in their hands, ready to ask questions.

“I stopped watering my lawn and all my landscaping and the bill has never gone down. When we go on vacation the bill never goes down,” resident Therese Khlanowich said. “The water bills here are extremely expensive just to begin with, so then to have your bill continue to go up and up and up for no reason -- you're holding back on water, you're conserving water and it continues to go up -- it’s just kind of maddening.”

Employees from the Public Utilities Department said they are trying to find the answers, after the department earlier this month announced that meters were misread, causing some bills to be more than $1,000.

The city brought in representatives to go over monthly statements with residents, looking for discrepancies and signs of over billing.

“We’ve actually brought customer service representatives out to the community for people who have specific questions about their account," said Brent Eidson with the City of San Diego.

But one woman said she believes the city is overthinking it as it tries to correct mistakes while wasting people’s time.

“They’re telling us that we have to stay here for about an hour minimum to talk to somebody personally,” resident Sandi Little said. “They said it was human error. My question is why don’t they go figure out where the error was and fix it for all of us?” resident Sandi Little said.

The city is planning two more forums at its offices in Kearny Mesa.