SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Frustrations are boiling over for San Diegans who say they can no longer afford to pay their skyrocketing water bills.
A big concern now, is how to keep the water running?
San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry has requested a full audit of the city’s public utilities department and Tuesday asked that customers with radically high bills that are being disputed not have to pay them until after the audit.
"I make a point of paying all my bills on time," said Pacific Beach property owner Catherine Williams. "I'm a good citizen and then to see this is how we're treated is really disappointing."
Water customer Williams, a reservist for the U.S. Navy, rents out two cottages in PB at Cass and Tourmaline as she now works in Mississippi.
She says her City of San Diego water bills have been over $1,000 since November - even at times her property was vacant.
"You can't expect people to pay thousands of dollars for water they haven't used," said Williams.
Scared that the City may shut off service, Catherine paid her typical $350 hoping that will be enough.
"In this case, people are afraid their water is going to get turned off if they don't pay the water bill," said Bry.
In a statement, Jerry McCormick spokesperson for the City of San Diego said:
Our normal practice is to put the account on hold until we investigate the customer's concern. Once we investigate, we will work with the customer to give them a reasonable time to pay or arrange a payment plan.
That comes as little relief for Williams who says she is now ready to sell off her rental properties.
"When you have stuff like this happen and the city treats you like this, it makes you not want to do business in San Diego," said Williams.
The City says customers who have high water bills they are contesting, will not have the water turned off while the investigation is underway. They will freeze the account essentially but not shut off water access
The City’s PUD hasnt been audited since 2013.
This audit is to be completed by June.