In May 2010, the owners of my apartment installed water meters & contracted for Midway Services Inc to monitor each tenant's use of water and bill us. What they did was like unlocking the bank vault to make it easier for the thieves.
I live alone. I never use my dishwasher. I probably use my washer as much or little as anyone else would. Here's what I've been charged per -month- just for water!!!
$ 72.61 53.19 135.00 139.82 70.36 70.00 74.24 51.50 52.66 38.41 45.51 66.92 129.05 157.56 191.49
Look at how high these are! A friend of mine lives in a house in my county with his wife and daughter -- and he waters his lawn frequently. He said that he pays about $40 a month. I've paid less than $40 a month -once- since this rip-off began! (BTW, who knows why the amounts are so erratic. Maybe they throw darts at numbers on a wall.)
There's more. At the beginning the only way we could pay was by mail. A bill would be dated as 2-3-2011 for instance. It wouldnt arrive here until about a week later. Meanwhile the payment would be due on 2-18. Good luck getting that payment back to Florida on time. And if you're a day late, they slap you with a $7.00 overdue fee. If you're not late, not to worry-- There's that tidy little $2.79 "billing fee" you get to pay anyway.
I was often late with my payment, so I was glad when they "let us" pay online. Now, I'm no longer in danger of the $7.00 late fee, but I still get to pay the billing fee PLUS the $2.95 "Convenience Fee" for being allowed to pay online. As an extra added bonus their "security-free" site remembers both your name and password, whether you want it to or not. Anytime I bring up the site, there it is already for me to click "Enter". No, I did not tell my computer to remember this information. I wouldn't be surprised if the site was an easy hack and people could collect credit card numbers any time they want.
I talked with a neighbor today and asked him about his bill. He seems to be paying less than I do each month and there's two people in his apartment. Lucky, but also weird. In the meantime, he told me that the guy across the hall from him received a bill for $250.00 this month. Wow! That makes my bills look like bargains!
I've tried talking to my state's Consumer Protection people but evidently there's a lovely loophole in the laws preventing them from dealing with thieves with utility meters. Their hands are also tied with the "gas meter thieves" known as Conservice. (Lots about them at this site.)
Whatever you do, do not rent an apartment from owners who use either Midway Services Inc or Conservice for your utility bill! Check before you sign the lease. Check thoroughly. And if your apartment mentions they are going to start dealing with either of these thieves, begin looking for another place to live at once. Yeah, you may lose money breaking your lease but you'll lose more if you stay and have to shell out this kind of cash each month. I'm about to take my own advice and move out of here. Should have done it months ago before Midway conned me out of over $1300 for water in a year and a half!