Sanford man charged for using 39,000 gallons of water amid city's transition to digital meters

Dennis Kennedy doesn’t use a lot of water. For 13 years, he’s fallen under the City of Sanford’s minimum usage, and has been charged a consistent $72 for his utilities.

In April, it went up, so he asked the City to check his meter. This month, he got hit with a $360 bill.

"I was like, ‘There’s no way,’" Kennedy said. He was charged for 39,000 gallons of water.

The St. Johns River Water Management District says the average person uses about 115 gallons of water a day. That means Kennedy would have had to suddenly use 11 times more than the average person this month. 

"It’s just frustrating," he told FOX 35.

So you’d figure he must have had a leak, right?

But the meter moves when he turns his hose on. When he turns it off, it stops, showing there’s no other water running. He marched himself down to the City to dispute the charge.

"They said sometimes the water trucks mess up their readings," he recalled of his visit there. "You have to pay it while it's in dispute, otherwise you get your water shut off."

When FOX 35 asked the City of Sanford why something like this might happen, the Communications Officer answered that the City is switching to digital meters, adding in a statement:

"The City listens to its customers. We understand that billing has been frustrating, and we’re working to upgrade the system as an investment for our customers. There is the potential that water usage was not fully registering on your old meter which could mean a more accurate recording of consumption with a new meter."

Kennedy does not have a new meter.

FOX 35 asked the City what might cause a massive jump in his readings. They said they’re looking into it.

They also said anyone concerned about an increase in their bill should reach out to the City.