St Leonards neighbours confused by ‘ridiculous’ water bills

Wendy Lakin and neighbour William Cruttenden have both been charged nearly �700 by Southern Water.
Wendy Lakin and neighbour William Cruttenden have both been charged nearly �700 by Southern Water.

Two St Leonards neighbours cannot understand how they both received identical water bills quoting a ‘ridiculous’ charge of nearly £700.

Wendy Lakin and William Cruttenden, both of Cherry Tree Close, received Southern Water bills of £688.61, despite claiming to only spend around a third of that per month.

The water company claims it cannot find anything wrong with the meters and Mrs Lakin is not expected to pay that amount due to her specific plan.

But she is concerned Southern Water is issuing incorrect and ‘irresponsible’ bills, especially to young parents like Mr Cruttenden and his partner.

“I always pay for it, usually in advance, but this is just ridiculous,” she said.

“They’re just a couple, they can’t afford this type of bill just before Christmas, I’m just flabbergasted.

“I’m an elderly woman and how many elderly people just pay the bill? It’s just wrong.”

According to the October bill, the neighbours used 193 cubic meters of water each, which would be normal for a family of 11 people.

Mrs Lakin believes their water meters must be faulty and it could have something to do with a recent pipe burst.

She is also concerned as her bill says she used nearly 1,000 litres per day over the last year and 950 this time last year, but her bill from October, 2014, says she used only 240 litres.

“Everybody we’ve spoken to at Southern Water said it doesn’t happen, you can’t get duplicate bills, but we have,” she said.

“They say there’s nothing wrong but how can two people get the same bill?

“How many other people are having problems with Southern Water? It’s not like gas and electricity where you can choose as you’re stuck with them.”

Southern Water claimed the neighbours had different water usages which confirmed the bills were not identical.

A spokesman said: “Due to the fact that this is a very rare event, an engineer did visit the property to check both meters.

“This confirmed that there were no leaks and the meters were working as they should.

“Whilst both meters are working correctly the homeowners have expressed concern about the increase in water use.

“Therefore we have organised for an inspector to revisit the properties tomorrow to give a second opinion.

“This work is ongoing and we will continue to update our customers.”

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