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High Water Bill In Montgomery County? Report Offers Possible Causes

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A new report offers some answers to Montgomery County residents' questions about their unusually high water bills.
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A new report offers some answers to Montgomery County residents' questions about their unusually high water bills.

In Maryland, a new report is shedding light on why some Montgomery County residents may be getting particularly high water bills.

Montgomery county resident John Ashdam’s quarterly residential water bill can average around $250. Ashdam says in the first quarter of this year he received a bill higher than he'd ever seen before.

"$681.05 — I said, 'Wow!'" Ashdam says.

A report released this week by Montgomery County's Office of Consumer Protection examines complaints made by nearly 60 people of exceptionally high residential water bills issued by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission earlier this year. Some residents reported bills reflecting a spike in water usage of 200 to 400 percent in one period.

While the report outlines a number of possible causes such as poorly read meters, more water being used by the resident, or malfunctioning meters, Eric Friedman with the Office of Consumer Protection says there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for the high bills.

"There's definitely an air of inconclusion with respect to our study and that adds to the frustration, because a lot of these events are just a mystery and we don't know why the consumption was so much higher," Friedman says.

The report recommended additional independent review to identify the cause of the excessively high water bills.

In a statement released Tuesday, officials at WSSC say the bills were high primarily because of the longer billing cycles due to this past winter's bad weather.

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