Some homeowners unhappy when their water bills spike by $100

Some homeowners unhappy when their water bills spike by $100

PORTLAND, Ore. – Some homeowners in Southeast Portland are not happy after they got their most recent water bills.

Some of their bills were mysteriously $100 more than they normally pay.

"There's something wrong," says Mark Hanson. "It's not just a rate hike, because it came out to nowhere this amount."

Hanson knows his family hasn't used more water than normal this summer.

It was why he was so shocked when his most recent water bill was more than $100 higher than normal.

"That's extremely high compared to all of our recent, previous bills," he says.

But what was really weird was that his bill indicated he had used "zero" water.

The same thing happened to Hanson's next door neighbor, Laurie Depue.

Both immediately called the Portland Water Bureau but said customer service didn't help.

"So the whole thing is very frustrating," Hanson says. "I do feel like we’re getting the runaround."

According to the water bureau, Hanson's meter, along with two other homes' meters, stopped working.

The bureau says they likely failed after city crews replaced 60-year-old pipes in the neighborhood over the summer. And when meters stop registering, the water bureau estimates the costs based on what homeowners used in the same timeframe the prior years.

According to the water bureau, it checked the homeowners' previous bills and said "Their water usage is very consistent."

But Hanson and Depue disagree and believe the bills need to be brought back down.

"It's the fair thing to do and looking at our previous bills, it's truly the right thing to do," Hanson says.

The Portland Water Bureau says it does not estimate water bills based on the highest use at the property; instead, it's based on an average from previous years.

Meanwhile, a spokesman says those broken water meters are on schedule to be replaced.

Click here to learn how to appeal your water bill with the Portland Water Bureau.

The upset water customers let us know about what was going on. If there's someone you think we need to hold accountable, email us at Your email goes straight to our newsroom.