Royal Oak stands by family's $3,600 water bill, says it used 193K gallons

Image 1 of 4

"It's not even about the insane amount of water," said Patrick Powers. "The city has mocked us and laughed at us."

That's what Powers, a Royal Oak resident, said last week after receiving a $3,600 water bill. 

This is Powers, now: 

"There's been no apology or conversation about the way we were treated," he said.

Powers, his wife, and their 1-year-old son who live on Donald Street, received a water bill for more than $3,600. The bill says they used roughly 193,000 gallons in three months. 

"Common sense isn't being used in this situation at all," he said.

FOX 2 contacted Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson last week. Johnson said the Powers house likely had a leak.
FOX 2: "He says this must have been from a running hose or a leaky toilet."

"Um, no. That did not happen," said Powers. "The city engineer found nothing. He checked the toilet, checked for leaks around the house and he said there wasn't any."

Johnson later said that a meter supervisor determined the Powers' water meter in their basement wasn't matching the remote display outside of their home. But Thursday, Johnson says that supervisor looked at the wrong account.
"Every customer is responsible for the water that flows through the meter," Johnson said. "The meter is accurate. There's no doubt about that."

Johnson was unwilling to answer FOX 2's questions on-camera, instead reading a statement adding that the meter's accuracy is "99.6 percent."

"Even though they didn't find any issues with anything, they switched the meter," Powers said.

FOX 2: "And since the meter has been switched, what's your bill?"

"The bill is back to normal," Powers said.

When FOX 2 asked Johnson why he thinks the Powers' water bill went back to about $150 after removing the meter, he said the leak must have been fixed. 

"That statement is completely false," Powers said. "It's just lies to get our money."

The city of Royal Oak offered the Powers family a payment plan of $150 a month. But the Powers, who planned to sell their small home and expand their family, says this water bill -- is now a lien on their house.

"People have come up to our front door who are going through extremely similar situations," Powers said. "The problem is the city of Royal Oak."

While the city says the bill must be paid, the Powers says there must be a mistake and worry they are not the only ones getting bills like this one.
"Call the city and get ahold of them," he said. "Do whatever you can, get on social media. Call me, call us, because we are going to fight this to the bitter end."