I just received a whopping US$25,000 water bill from Cayman Water due to a water pipe break on the outside of my home.
I contacted Cayman Water to ask why they did not bother to contact me when they saw my bill increase from the normal $80 average that I pay per month and why couldn’t they tell that almost 1 million gallons more was pumping into my home.
Their answer was simply they are not responsible for anything that breaks after their meter and there is no way for them to monitor any excess water coming in to my home like the Water Authority does for their customers.
According to them they are working on getting new smart water meters in but the process will most likely take another two years. Well, that doesn’t help me now, does it? I also contacted my insurance company and they refused to entertain my request for help, stating that if the pipe had burst on the inside of the house they would have paid to have the inside repaired but not the water bill.
What is the sense of having property insurance when they cherry pick everything to ensure you don’t get a red cent when you have to submit a claim? The only reason that I knew of the pipe break was that the guy who came out to read the meter at the end of the month saw the meter spinning like crazy and notified my tenant of the water break. I have no idea how long this leak was going on as one would think with a million gallons spewing out one would see it somewhere in the yard but other than that one spot we could find no other leaks.
My questions are:
1. Isn’t it unreasonable to ask me to pay US$25K for a water bill that could have easily been prevented by simply having the right technology in place? How does 1 million additional gallons escape from their system and they have no idea where it went or where it is going?
2. Which family home uses 1 million gallons of water a month? Why does the Water Authority, who is owned by the government, have this technology employed but the private firm Cayman Water doesn’t?
3. Are there any consumer protection laws to assist people like myself who cannot afford to pay these outrageous bills?
4. Does OfReg regulate Cayman Water and if so what are they doing to protect ordinary citizens like myself from these giants?
I would have been happy to pay double my normal water bill if they had caught it but to ask me to go from paying on average US$80 a month to US$25K because they don’t have safety systems in place to prevent this problem is wrong.
5. What would have happened if a little 80-year-old lady living alone in West Bay broke a pipe and they wanted to charge her US$25K?
6. Would they simply just turn off the water and refuse her a connection if she couldn’t come up with the US$25K?
This must happen all the time and it is a licence to print money for Cayman Water.
Is there any way to find out if I have any recourse otherwise it looks like I may have my water turned off and I don’t have an alternate source to get water?
Cayman Marl Road is completely shocked by this and are contacting government agencies, the Water Authority and several politicians to see what can be done in a situation like this.
We will update this post shortly.