Austin Water Customer: "City withholding full refund"

We're continuing our coverage of Austin Water woes. One customer is getting a refund on her high water bill. She reached out to FOX 7 for help, saying the refund is not the full amount she is actually owed.

It's the end of October and Fran Werner is still dealing with August and September. Water bills, that is.

"Who knew that you had to monitor every single thing you do. All the time, forever," said Fran Werner, customer.

Normally the water bill averages anywhere from $12.00 to $19.00 a month. It jumped to a whopping $316.00 in August, then $179.00 in September. Werner has been trying to figure out why.

"We didn't have any leaks. We checked our water usage after every shower, after every washing machine load, the dishwasher, to see how many gallons we were using and to see if anything used an inordinate amount of water. What we also did, was checked our water meter and then left the house for eight hours and checked the meter again," said Werner.

She wrote all of this in an email to a customer service representative assigned to her from Austin Water Utility.

"She had written me an email back that just said, "I have completed the paperwork and have proposed a credit of almost $300,'" said Werner.

Werner was confused as to how they came up with that number and asked for an explanation. The response email from the employee reads:

I completely understand but we have a formula that is mandatory for us to use when processing administrative adjustments. You won't get the full amount back but only 50% of the excess. So when I enter the date and numbers, the formula in the spreadsheet calculates the adjustment.

FOX 7 contacted Austin Water Utility directly for more answers. They are having their customer service department look into the situation.

"I'm really happy to be getting half of the money back but I don't understand the process and I don't understand how they arrived at this. Therefore, I think it's incumbent upon everybody to try to get what's fair," said Werner.

Werner and her husband are the only ones that live in the home. They don't have a pool nor an irrigation system. Fortunately for them, things went back to normal this month.

"It's great that it's back to normal but what's going to prevent this from happening again? What caused this to happen the first time? So there are still so many unanswered questions," said Werner.

Something she hopes will get resolved soon.

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