Higher Water Rates, No Bills To Show - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/12/04 - Quitman

Higher Water Rates, No Bills To Show

Holiday Villages at Lake Fork is a community made up of houses, trailers, and RV's. After its latest water rate hike, Tecon Water Company of dallas is charging residents a fixed rate of $31.45 per month, plus $3.80 per 1,000 gallons used.

Patricia Kinnaird is one of many residents who doesn't think she should be paying that much.

"If we're going to pay a high rate, then give us the service for that high rate," Kinnaird said.

Her neighbor Virginia Gomer says Tecon has failed residents in multiple ways.

"This is what they say I owe, but they don't have a bill to show me that I owe it," Gomer said.

Gomer says she moved into Holiday Villages in November, and Tecon came to collect more than $240 last month, but couldn't tell her how much water she used. So Tecon says it's waiving all of her previous bills. But Gomer says she doesn't want free water.

"I used the water. I owe it. I want to pay it," she said.

Kinnaird says several other residents have had to pay for water they never received bills for.

"I heard two or three in the meeting that said it was nine months, and they didn't receive a bill," Kinnaird said. "It was three months... others that he said didn't receive a bill until they were there ready to cut off their water."

Dozens of homeowners have already met to voice their complaints. At least one resident is suing Tecon. They're all protesting the proposed rate hike and they say they plan to take this issue all the way to the state capital. If the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approves the rate hike, residents will have to continue paying.

Tecon says the rate hikes are necessary because it is funded solely by investors. A hearing set for June will allow Tecon to negotiate with its customers a new rate they can agree on. In the meantime, residents will have to continue paying the current rate.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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