JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- The average swimming pool takes 20-thousand gallons to fill it up; Paul McLester does not have a pool, yet his September water bill claims he used enough water to fill a pool.
"I know I did not use 27-thousand gallons of water in three weeks," he said.
His water service is with the Jacksonville Electric Authority and his September bill hit him like a tsunami.
"Normally my bill is $46 the highest it will go is $53," said McLester, "my latest bill came in at $252.55. Something is wrong."
McLester is not alone. The On Your Side team has received a flood of complaints from Northern St. Johns County residents served by the JEA.
"The toilets aren't running all the time, the shower isn't leaking," he said," why is my bill so high?"
McLester complained to the JEA his bill is incorrect and was given a possible explanation.
"When I called JEA their first response was 'Oh you must have run your irrigation system too much' " he said."Well I live in a community where the HOA handles the irrigation and it is not attached to my meter."
"I don't know where they got the numbers from," he said.
Numbers that would inflate his water use from one thousand gallons to 27-thousand gallons a month.
"They need to come out and read my meter and they need to correct it to the $46.66 which it is every single month," said McLester.
We asked the JEA to review the bills and give us an explanation for the increases. This is the JEA"s response:
"Our research concludes that some, but not all of the customer complaints are the result of billing estimations. Our business processes allow for system estimations so that we may dedicate our field workforce to restoring power as quickly as possible.
The majority of the inquiries are from customers whose meters are read by a Meter Reader monthly. JEA informs the customer of the estimation by noting the word ESTIMATE on the bill. Less than 5% of our customers’ bills included an estimated meter reading due to storm restoration activities.
Billing estimations under normal circumstances are extremely rare. For context, JEA produces an average of 412k bills and averages 1 system estimate per month.
As always, if a customer has concerns, they should contact our office."