Water bill spikes prompt warning from Pearl City residents


Watch your water bills. That’s the warning from some Pearl City residents who caught the Board of Water Supply billing them for more water than they used.

Customers who didn’t get a fix reached out to Always Investigating and we found it’s a combination of 
mistaken entries and estimating by the Board of Water Supply.

This Pearl City retiree takes water conservation to heart.

“We catch the water in the shower when we heat up our water and flush the upstairs toilet with it,” Lynn Elisala explained. “I contain all of my dishwater and water all of my plants with it, we are super super conservative.”

So when her water bill spiked last month she knew something wasn’t right. 

“Nothing there were no leaks we checked everything,” she said. 

So she asked the water department when they took her reading, then she checked her own water meter.

“It was 9 days after they quoted me reading it and it was way 3000 gallons below what they read it.,” Elisala said.

Yet about a full month’s worth of her usual usage was tacked on top of what she saw on her own meter. 

“I called the Board of Water Supply and gave them the reading and she said how did you know, I said because i came out on my knees and read my meter and took pictures of it,” Elisala said.

Always Investigating went to see for ourselves and indeed now about a month after that board of water supply bill the meter had just then caught up with what they had already charged for. We saw the same happened next door. 

“That doesn’t seem logical, they show her usage at 5000 gallons so if 5000 gallons it’s only gone up 2,000,” Elisala wondered.

And again on down the street, some dating back months

“This one is crazy its the same type of a spike he is normally running about 6000 and up here he’s 11,” Elisala said.  

Always Investigating pointed out that his meter too is way close today to what they say it was back in the fall.

“We don’t know how far it goes and I’m not going to bother the whole neighborhood,” Elisala said.

Elisala says she called the board of water supply and says she was told it can’t be wrong.

“For them to say we don’t make mistakes it’s just kind of annoying I think,” she said.

We followed up and the Board of Water Supply told Always Investigating that November reading was incorrectly entered into the system. 

We asked how could that happen and they said: “Human error. The water data collector misreads the meter or incorrectly enters the number on their handheld device.”

More bad news came by mail when another batch of bills arrived just after our inspection, and again, meter charges higher than the meter was really reading.

We asked the Board of Water supply and they said that time “the December bill was estimated.” They told us they do this if they didn’t or couldn’t read the meter but they try to base it “on prior consumption.”

Always Investigating asked residents what they want the Board of Water Supply to do?

“I just want them to call me and say they made a mistake on your bill and this wont happen again and we’re sorry,” Elisala said.

The water department is in the process of verifying and reissuing corrected November and December bills to Mrs. Elisala. They say they want people to check their bills and call if anything looks off. They say it could be a leak. As that Pearl City neighborhood found, though, it could also be a mistake or an estimate.

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