CARENCRO, La. (KLFY) An Acadiana man is questioning why his Lafayette Utilities System water bill is $2,942.21 when the company’s water meter has not been working properly for the five years he has been living in his home.
News 10’s Rodricka Taylor found out the man is challenging LUS to take responsibility for their broken equipment.
“It took roughly five years for them to do an audit to find out that their meter wasn’t communicating properly,” said Jeremy Lavergne.
“If the meter was faulty, it shouldn’t have taken them five years to figure that out and then all of a sudden put it off on the customer like it’s my fault.”
Lavergne lives with his wife and seven kids.
He said it was roughly two weeks ago when he received a water bill of $2700.
A shock to the family, Lavergne says he attempted to contact the water department.
“Every time I call, I’m number 67, 75, 80 in line and waiting hours and hours to speak to someone but never able to get a hold of anyone.”
It was not long after that he said he gave up and instead called the commissioner’s office in Baton Rouge.
He was told that there was nothing that they could do because Lafayette was a Consolidated Government and that they had their system.
When Lavergne reached out to the Mayor-President’s office, he says the secretary somewhat explained the situation and advised that he was back billed for water he hadn’t paid for.
“What they did was they took the reading of the meter now, and they calculated the last time that they had an accurate reading on the meter, which showed how much water I used.”
Upset, Lavergne said the company should have caught the problem long ago.
“Basically making it like it’s our fault that we should have been paying close attention to our bill and paying attention to our usage.”
He said the secretary even made accusations that all we had been paying for in the past years was for service charges.
Lavargne says he further questioned how were they paying service charges only when his bill would fluctuate from month to month.
“A service charge should remain the same, and I didn’t get a response for that one.”
Furthermore, he said his children were outside playing and went into the home to get something to drink when they discovered the water was disconnected Thursday.
“We pay what they sent us.”
The secretary informed him that his account wasn’t in disconnect status yet and that no one should have disconnected the water and that after a phone call, LUS turned the water back on.
LUS later explained to News Ten that there had been a broken water main that affected customers in that area on that day and that Lavergne was not the only customer affected.
“How many people do you know look at their bill and measure the number of gallons they use or kilowatts that they use? Most people look at the cost, pay it, then be done with it,” Lavergne said.
He said due to a late payment on the $2700, the bill is now around $2900. He said he plans to fix it, but he said the company should communicate better.
“Had I not been the person that I was and made the phone calls that I made, things could have turned out a lot worse than what they were,” he said.
News 10 tried to reach the director of LUS to talk about their equipment and Lavergne’s bill, but they declined an on-camera interview. However, LUS spokesperson Alex Antonowitsch says the company will work with Lavergne to make adjustments to his bill. The company has until Lavergne’s next payment on Aug. 23 to work out a new payment schedule.