10/1/10

In the news: Water bills soak many in Chicago

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Last year, 68-year-old Anna Falco paid the City of Chicago $339.43 for water and sewer service for her home, a one-story bungalow in Bridgeport.

Just across the street, her neighbor, plumbing contractor Michael DiFoggio, paid only $175.59 -- a little over half as much -- even though his 7,231-square-foot home, complete with an indoor swimming pool, is five times the size of Falco's.

"I don't understand why my bill is bigger than his," said Falco. "He's got a bigger house. He's got a pool."

DiFoggio also has something else -- a water meter.

Falco does not. If she did, she would almost certainly pay less than she does now.

In Chicago, 71 percent of single-family homes, two-flats and other residential properties aren't charged for water on the basis of how much they actually use. Instead, the city calculates their water bills using a flawed, century-old formula that's based largely on the widths of their buildings and lots.

So Falco, who lives alone, and many of those 313,993 other homeowners without meters appear to be paying too much for water. And City Hall knows it. Read more.

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