PWSA customers say bills are way too high

PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates is looking into new reports about Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority bills that customers said are too high.

"I don't understand how in one month it could go up that much," said Jeffrey Anesin of Troy Hill.

He wants to know what's going on with the water bills on his street, including his daughter's, which went up $80 this month, his neighbor’s, which jumped more than $60 and the bill at the bar he used to own that nearly doubled.

Anesin told Channel 11 their usage hasn't changed.


In fact, the bar usually uses less water during the summer.

“July and August are the two slowest months of the year over there, and it just don't seem right," Anesin said.

For more than a year now, 11 Investigates has been reporting on issues plaguing the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, including billing issues.

He and his other neighbors worry the sky-high bills stem from a nearby water leak that wasn't fixed for several months and crews flushing hydrants on their street around the PWSA’s boil water advisory.

“They had fire hydrants open for five or six days, letting water pour out of them," Anesin said.

Even though neighbors think the hydrant flushing has something to do with their bill increases, when Channel 11 checked with the PWSA, they said that's not the case."

A spokesperson for the PWSA said, "Hydrant flushing would not impact individual customer bills. That use is not metered and the expense is borne by PWSA."

However, the PWSA did tell Channel 11 that a supervisor will review the bills to find out what's causing the increase.


Anesin hopes to get an answer soon.

"I'm going to start taking my own readings and compare them,” he said. "The bills are jumping left and right. Never going down, always going up."

11 Investigates later heard from the PWSA about the review of those bills.

A spokesperson said they didn't find a big discrepancy based on customers' historical usage.

They suggested one neighbor may want to check for plumbing leaks.

Last week, just up Route 28 in Millvale, 11 Investigates dug into problems PWSA is having there.

Millvale residents had to boil their water an extra five days because of inconsistent chlorine tests after problems with a reservoir affected much of the North Side and Reserve Township.

PWSA didn't take over Millvale's water system until 2009, and the agency said it's still trying to figure out where the system's problems are coming from.