What to Know
- Some Suez water customers in Rockland want to know how their bills spiked so high in November; one woman living alone got a nearly $800 bill
- Suez insists there must have been a leak for these customers, and has offered discounts of varying amounts to different affected customers
- State senator David Carlucci is asking the Public Service Commission to investigate
After a handful of Suez water customers in Rockland County saw their bills mysteriously spike by hundreds of dollars one recent month, they're still getting no answers from the utility.
Micheline Desselle was among the customers who saw an incredible surge on her November water bill. The 68-year-old retired nurse lives alone, typically pays about $18 a month for water and was in Florida half the month in November.
She was shocked to find a bill for $789.
"When I saw the bill, I couldn't believe it," she said. "I said they must be out of their mind."
"I was away for two weeks," she added. "No one was here. No one. No one was using the water, no one."
Even more puzzling, her bill for December usage dropped back down to $18. But when she challenged the November amount for 59,000 gallons of water used -- as opposed to the 748 she normally uses -- she said Suez told her she must have a leak.
State senator David Carlucci said Desselle is one of several Suez customers to complain to him about a sudden spike in bills on a random month. All the high bills happened at different times and different places, and then returned to normal the following month.
Carlucci tried reaching out to Suez himself.
"They're in denial and saying it's the customers' fault, blaming the customers' appliances. And we're saying you have to help them," he said.
Carlucci fired off a letter to the Public Service Commission to investigate. He said Suez lacks a uniform policy in settling disputed amounts, granting some customers larger discounts than others. Desselle isn't interested in discounts.
"I will not be paying that amount," she said. "Not me."
Reached by News 4 Thursday, Suez said it is working with Desselle and is sending out her meter for testing.
Desselle and other customers impacted said they want answers -- including as to how it all happened in the first place.