Woman staggered to find £16k water bill not a mistake
A water leak that went undetected for months has lumbered one woman with a water bill for nearly £16k.
Claire Fitzpatrick said that everything initially seemed fine upon moving into her house early last year. However, by the summer, the amount she owed to Welsh Water had “suddenly and unexplainably shot up” into four figures.
Speaking to WalesOnline, the 47-year-old cosmetic product developer added that when she went to check her meter – which is located in the street outside her house – the numbers were “spinning at 100 miles an hour.”
“I first realised something was wrong when I was alerted by my bank about my monthly direct debit having gone up. So I rang Welsh Water and was told my outstanding balance was £3,823.27 – I couldn’t believe it.
“After that, an engineer came round, said he’d been inspecting the area and believed there was leak somewhere. I was then told that they’d had no luck locating it and that my driveway would probably have to be dug up.”
The mum-of-two added that when she came back from holiday in August she found a huge hole had appeared in the ground outside her property. “They still couldn’t find the leak though and were given instructions in blue spray paint nearby to ‘dig deeper’,” said Claire. “So again they dug and again they couldn’t find anything. And they were back again earlier this week for a third attempt.”
In the meantime, Claire was “stunned” to be hit with a six-monthly bill for a whopping £15,833.11. “I was gobsmacked – they must think I’m operating a waterpark in the back garden.
“Welsh Water have also said that, if they fail to find the leak, I’ll have to pay to hire a private contractor to locate it. Until then my account apparently been frozen until a decision is made on what the next step should be.
“There’s even been talk about a payment plan. I thought, You must be joking – there’s no way I can afford to pay back nearly £16k.”
A spokesperson for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water said, “We are aware of the leak at the customer’s property and identified early on that the leak was not on our pipework but instead on the internal pipework of the property. While the responsibility of leaks on internal pipework does lie with the customer, we have as a gesture of goodwill tried to assist on a few occasions.
“We are continuing to liaise with the customer in advising them on the steps they need to take to resolve the matter. We are sorry if the bill has caused alarm but we have explained to the customer that, in the event of internal leaks, we will apply an allowance to the customer’s account once the repair has been completed. We will continue to liaise with the customer on this.”
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