A DISABLED man got a shock when he was sent a water bill for more than £6,600 – despite having lived in his one-bedroom bungalow for just six months.
Steven Mitchell said he would have had to be using almost £30 worth of water each day to rack up the bill of £6,682 since he moved into the property in Adelaide Street, Stonehouse, in June last year.
South West Water (SWW) has blamed the high bill on a large leak in the property, which is owned by Devon Community Homes, and says it is investigating.
Mr Mitchell, aged 54, said: “It was a bit of a shock when the bill landed on my doorstep. I realised it wasn’t a serious amount that I owed them, they can’t be charging me that much for six months. It’s not stressful, because there’s no way I am going to have to pay that. It struck me as a bit funny really.”
Mr Mitchell has a paralysed right leg and a bad back, and uses a wheelchair and crutches to get around.
After receiving the bill on Tuesday, January 28 he contacted SWW via Facebook.
A spokesman for the water company said: “We received Mr Mitchell’s query about his bill January 28 and called him the next day. We advised him by letter in December that we had noticed that he seemed to be using more water than usual, recommending that he check for leaks, advice which was reiterated with the most recent bill.
“We advised Mr Mitchell on how to carry out a meter check, which he did on January 30. The results of this revealed a large leak in the supply. We sent a metering technician to the property on the same day to ascertain the location of the leak and can confirm that the leak is not associated with the water meter. We will also make a small excavation to confirm whether the leak is our responsibility or that of the landlord of the property.
“In the meantime we have put Mr Mitchell’s account on hold and are working with him to resolve this issue.”
A spokeswoman for Devon Community Homes said: “Our resident Mr Mitchell reported his water repair concerns to us via our website. There have been no previous reports of a leak at this site. Our direct maintenance team have been issued instructions today (Friday Jan 31) to investigate the issue as quickly as possible.”