What happens when you eliminate government “waste”

It is not an over-exaggeration to say that I almost passed out when I received my most recent water bill from the City of San Diego Water & Wastewater Services. Our bi-monthly bill has been increasing in breathtaking amounts across the last three billing cycles, despite our conservation efforts and comparatively small square footage. According to our bill, we’ve used 41.76% more water than last year at this time, and a combined 75% more if we add together our last three bills. Granted, fees have gone up. But friends of ours with more than two acres and avocado trees that need watering were astonished at our bill this month.

As my friend from Oklahoma might say, It jus dun’t seem rah-t.

Since I caught a discrepancy in our meter numbers the last time something didn’t seem right, I decided to take a peek into the dark, muddy hole that houses our water meter after I got our bill last week. I cleared away the away the spider webs and wiped the grime from the glass, and what do you know? The reading I got was twelve moons and one clump of brown recluse eggs away from the numbers on my bill. If an actual human read my meter this month—which is doubtful—he or she pulled the numbers from a different dark and cavernous place, if you know what I’m saying. Proud of myself for catching the mistake, I picked up the phone to discuss it with the lovelies at the water company. But there are no lovelies at the water company. There’s just one lovely, and she sounds like this:

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I’ve called six times in the last eight days. I’ve emailed twice. And all I’ve gotten in return were two automated email responses, letting me know that someone would be in touch within “3-5 days.” I’m pretty sure it isn’t even necessary to report that my phone has not rung. Meanwhile, my bill is due in two days. Something tells me that if my Benjamins don’t arrive in short order, there will be humans on hand to track my ass down for payment. Ah, priorities.

Right now, there is a bloody scab on my upper lip from where I’ve anxiously picked away at my face. It’s what I do when I worry, and I’ve been worrying. Believe me. I’m a professional. And not just worrying about this, either. I have a whole slew of up-coming posts covering the many things that go bump in my eternal night.

Unable to get through to the water company, I resorted to calling my council member’s office this morning. And what did I get there but another motherfucking voice mail! There might just be a bald spot on the back of my head where I’ve pulled my hair out, a book end to my mutilated lip. I’m actually quite fond of my council member—as fond as one can be of a politician—but for Christ sake! SOMEBODY ANSWER THE GODDAMNED PHONE!


6 Responses to What happens when you eliminate government “waste”

  • Aunt Snow says:

    Another reason bills go up is if you have a sneaky little leak in your supply line. In your case, it’s pretty clear that the issue is the meter. But I have a friend whose bill went up about $300 because of a leak. He had to dig up his entire front yard to find it.

  • This is a public service announcement–now I know why my bill was so high last month!

  • Elizabeth says:

    NPR had a segment about a family that went completely greeen. However, their bill just kept going up. They fought it like crazy and, it turned out, that their meter was no longer accurate. Once a new meter was installed, their bill went down to a couple of bucks a month.

  • mrs. g.. says:

    Good ideas Maybelline!

  • MAYBELLINE says:

    Give this a shot:
    515-3525 and report your broken meter as an emergency. You will be able to talk to a living, breathing person to help resolve your problem.
    Hope this works for you.

  • MAYBELLINE says:

    Wish I knew someone in the water world down there. Have you tried pretending you have a rotary phone? Is there a phone number available for their water conservation division? OR try the espanol option to get to a real live person. Go to their office and meet with someone before you pay. If there is an error you probably won’t see a refund for a long, long time.

    Makes me appreciate only minimal government involvement in my life.

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