Maryborough resident Veronica McAtee is having problems with her water bill.
Maryborough resident Veronica McAtee is having problems with her water bill. Loretta Bryce

Where does Veronica's water go?

A BAFFLING water consumption bill over five-and-a-half years with no detected leaks, meter mis-readings or excessive usage has left a Maryborough woman unhappy with Wide Bay Water's response.

“Last year I discovered I was paying three times the amount that friends were paying for their water usage and even as much as a family of five,” Veronica McAtee said.

“My bill has been $1565.82 between June 30 2005 and September 23 this year. I live alone, do not irrigate, have a twin tub washing machine and am at work five days a week, so how I could have been using this enormous amount of water is a complete mystery.”

That's what Wide Bay Water's chief executive officer Peter Scott also seems to think.

Ms McAtee approached federal MP Warren Truss to look into the bills and Mr Truss asked Mr Scott to check out her complaint.

“A water inspector came round after that, checked my meter, told me I had no leaks and we measured turning the taps on and volume and all were correct,” she said.

“Then I received my next bill and all of a sudden it dropped from 173kl to 25kl. Previously it had been consistently high and since the drop it has been consistently low.

“Please explain, Wide Bay Water.”

Mr Scott wrote to Ms McAtee saying WBW could not “ascertain the reason for the change in your consumption, however, usage can also be affected by water leaks and these can occur anywhere on the property from the house side of the meter.

“Furthermore, excessive usage can be caused by such things as dripping taps, leaking pipes, toilet cisterns or water heaters.”

Internal investigations identified no evidence that the readings taken had not been recorded, or calculated and levied correctly, he said.

But when the water inspector called round to check Ms McAtee's home, he telephoned her to say he was there.

A stunned Ms McAtee replied: “No, you're not. I'm standing at my front door and you're definitely not here.”

The inspector then arrived at the right address.

“Had he done that before?” she asked.

Mr Scott told the Chronicle he would investigate the case further and let Ms McAtee know the result.



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