I wasn’t raised to ask for help. I was raised to paste on a fake smile and pretend that everything was okay. So was my mom. This has very nearly destroyed us, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.

I need help. I need help cleaning up a mess that was created when I was married and living 700 miles away. I cannot do it alone. My house is dying. I came home to a nightmare and it never lets up. Every day is another blow, and I don’t understand it. Yesterday, my mother called the city’s automated system for paying utility bills to pay our water bill of $91. The robot voice informed her that the bill was now over $130, contrary to the paper bill she held in her hand. Then it said that our total amount due was $1088 dollars.

$1088. For a household of two women and two cats. We don’t have a pool. We don’t have a sprinkler system. I water my potted plants with a watering can. I don’t stand and soak the flowerbeds with a hose.

We wait until we have a full load to do laundry. We reuse water from cooking frozen vegetables to water houseplants.

We’ve checked the house from top to bottom for running toilets, dripping faucets, and leaks. There. Are. None. Yet the city water department insists it must be “old pipes” under the house.

The city water department installed new, “better” water meters a few months ago. “Better” just means that they can read them from their offices, so the meter readers lost their jobs. I expected the bill to go up. I did not in any way imagine $1088.

People, our bill with the old meters was around $85/month. If there was a leak under our house using $1088 worth of water, the waters would have filled the basement and everything down there would be floating.

But this is North Carolina, where the NC Utilities Commission does not monitor local municipalities so if you have a problem with your water bill, good luck.

Water is a human right. We have paid our water bill every month. We already needed help. Now we need it more than ever.

Please help us.


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