Austin Energy says two meter readers are to blame for the errors on thousands of unusually high water bills.
The two employees made up reads causing high bills for more than 7,000 customers in September, according to an Austin Energy spokesperson.
It was the exact theory O.T. Greer and his neighbors started bringing to the city’s attention late last year.
Greer did some of his own investigating and felt like the meter readers never lifted the lid in his front yard to read the meter after his water bill jumped from $21 in August to $214 for no reason.
“I don’t know why [Austin Energy] didn’t believe us,” said Greer. “They should’ve figured it out a long time ago.”
The two employees worked for Corix at the time, and are no longer employed with the company, or with Bermex who took over the meter readings for Austin Energy in September.
Austin Energy told KXAN the publicly owned utility does not know why the meter readers falsified the numbers. In a statement, Corix told KXAN it assumes the motivation was due to the individuals about to lose their jobs as the contract ended in August.
Austin Energy is going through the process with its legal team to explore what type of legal action they can take against Corix.
The public utility is also putting together a report of lessons learned. Moving forward, Greer hopes Austin Energy will put more faith in its customers.
“I think they need to maybe take a little bit more importance in listening to what the person is saying,” said Greer.