News Feature | September 12, 2018

New York American Water Investigated Amid Overcharging Claims

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

bills reg new

New York American Water is under scrutiny for what public officials see as questionable charges on customer bills.

In July, New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced his office planned to review issues related to New York American Water, a provider water utility serving over 120,000 customers. The announcement came amid complaints of bill spikes among customers, according to The Long Island Herald.

Now, Nassau County officials are speaking up, as well.

“We found that money is literally leaking out of Nassau County in a variety of ways and that has to stop,” Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman said, per CBS New York.

A review of the county’s New York American Water bills turned up “tens of thousands of dollars in questionable charges,” the report stated.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran highlighted the scale of the problem.

“Talk about a red flag. We’ve seen water bills for this one park go from $50 one month to $4,000 the next month. That’s 80 times an increase,” she said, per the report.

“Parks like this have their water completely shut off during the winter months and yet we are still paying $150 a month,” Schnirman added.

The utility provided feedback to CBS New York.

“New York American Water said it’s working with the county to identify leaks. A spokesman for New York American Water said the company has done a comprehensive analysis of the county’s 67 water accounts and now only two require further action. Meter testing is underway,” the report stated.

Leaks are often linked to surges in bills—a point that New York American Water appears to be emphasizing, per The Long Island Herald.

“According to Jake Mendilinger, an NYAW spokesman, several significant leaks have been found at North Woodmere Park. The utility company has identified the location of two of the leaks, and is trying to determine where others might be,” the report stated.

Mendilinger added: “NYAW is waiting on the county to provide additional plans, which will enable NYAW specialists to pinpoint the exact locations of the leaks. It is critical that the county not delay repair of these leaks, as with each day thousands of gallons of water are wasted at the expense of the taxpayers.”

Image credit: "Mounting bills Project 365(2) Day 142," Keith Williamson © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/