Detroit man gets $1,300 water bill after city says meter wasn't working

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Paying his water bill every month, 57-year-old Charles Beam and his wife have lived in their Detroit home on east Outer Drive for years. He said he has usually paid on a water bill of between $75 and $90 dollars per month.

But this month the couple received a water bill for more than $1,300 due on April 3.

"I'm not going to pay that one," he said. "I don't even know how it calculated up to this much."
FOX 2: "It says you used 132,396 gallons?"

"Exactly," he said.

The bill showed $933 for sewer disposal and $420 for water usage.

Beam is trying to keep calm and called the water department. He says he was told his meter wasn't reading accurately.
"Well if it wasn't reading accurate shouldn't they have sent someone out before this happened," Beam said.

He says in 2016 a speeding car hit his home breaking bricks and causing it to shift and recalls the water department coming out to replace his meter.

A DWSD spokesperson says Thursday the wiring on the meter was then damaged and Beam has been under-billed since.
"This is not my fault," he said. "That's your equipment that's messed up."

And the director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Gary Brown, agrees.
"Unfortunately the system didn't work," he said. "It is our fault. The system is broke and we're going to fix it."

Brown is vowing to take money off from the large bill and said he is allowing Beam to enter into a payment plan.

"We are going to get out to his house tomorrow, read his meter and we are going to get it right," he said.

Beam still says he shouldn't have had to call FOX 2 in the first place.

"They should have been able to tell me that something was wrong on our end and I'll correct it," he said. "That's on them."