$20,000 water bill erased after Troubleshooter investigation - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

$20,000 water bill erased after Troubleshooter investigation

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It was a water bill that nearly left a Bullitt County couple under water. The Louisville Water Company charged them $20,000, claiming they used millions of gallons of water in just a couple months. So the couple called the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter department and got results.

When Bob Frye got a $20,529 water bill from the Louisville Water Company, he didn't know what to do. He's not drowning in debt any more.

"Now I can be happy and go buy lunch," Frye said with a laugh.

Bob and his wife Virginia weren't so upbeat when they called the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter department in December after the Louisville Water Company sent them the $20,529 bill. LWC even threatened to cut off water to the Frye's Sheperdsville home if they didn't pay.

Frye said the water company told him the charges were for 2,800,000 gallons of water used over a two month period in 2009 at a rental property the couple owned on 4th Street in Louisville. That was enough water to fill four Olympic size swimming pools.

"How do you think I reacted?" Virginia told the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter in December. "They're crazy. I told my daughter, and she said, 'Mom, the house would be floating down the street.'"

The Fryes said no one was even living in the home at the time of the of the charges. Bob said he did have to fix a broken pipe under the home after the last tenant moved out, but the couple didn't hear anything about the $20,529 dollar charge until more than two years later.

So the Fryes called the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter, and we went to work. The Troubleshooter asked the Louisville Water Company to review the case and the jaw dropping bill, which climbed to more than $21,000 in January after the water company started assessing late fees.

Then in February, Bob opened his new water bill. The total due: $521.

"I mean when you owe $21,000 and they drop it to $500, you're just happy," Frye said.

Louisville Water Company wouldn't provide details about what their investigation uncovered about the water usage at the Fryes' rental property. In an email, spokesperson Kelley Dearing-Smith wrote, "Louisville Water provided the adjustment to the Fryes' bill based on our back-billing policy that says we only bill for the past two years."

Bob hasn't gotten an explanation about what happened either, and at this point, he doesn't need one.

"I really don't care," he said. "I'm just happy that the bill is gone."

As for why this took so long to straighten out, Dearing-Smith wrote, "a case like this can take some time to resolve because we have to identify who was at the property, who consumed the water and who is responsible for the payment."

She added, "We're pleased that we could offer the credit."

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