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Tulsa woman waiting on explanation from city over concerning water bill

Water warning issued by City of Pawhuska after traces of E.coli bacteria found in public water
Posted at 8:10 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 07:57:06-04

TULSA, Okla. — At least a handful of Tulsans are making their voices heard about their concerns over their water bills lately.

Jamie Valquist says an unexpectedly expensive water bill from the City of Tulsa ia big deal.

She says her bill has tripled.

"It's $110 more than it was the month before, it's ridiculous," Valquist says.

She says she wonders how her October bill could increase that much when she says her family didn't use the same amount of water now as they did during the heat of summer when the bills were around $75.

"[The city] came out and read my meter and said that's correct."

Valquist says the city worker could only tell her he didn't find a leak, he couldn't speak as to why the bill has increased so much. She'd have to talk to city hall, so she's called the 311 helpline several times.

She says the menu sends her in circles, won't connect her to a live person.

"I want to know why no one will answer, or return a phone call," Valquist says.

"It's frustrating."

She says they posted their complaints on the Nextdoor App and responses flooded in from across the city.

"A lot of them are elderly on fixed incomes and they don't know what to do. There's no rhyme or reason as to why they're so drastically different each month."

The 2 News Oklahoma Problem Solvers contacted the city about Jamie's concerns and were told no one was available over several days to talk on camera, but a representative sent a detailed email.

We're told Valquist's usage appears to be higher this year when compared to their 5-to-7 year average.

The email says the meter could have been misread earlier, resulting in lower summer bills.

It also says the most recent readings don't explain the higher usage in the spring unless the customer has more information, which would need a more detailed conversation with the customer.

Valquist has been trying to give those details to the city but hasn't been able to get through.

So we asked the city to reach out to her and she says she hopes to hear from the city soon.

The city says the 311 system has had some hiccups since a recent ransomware attack, with some longer than normal wait times.

We're told new customer care agents are being trained, which should improve service in the coming weeks.

See this full story MONDAY on 2 News Oklahoma Today at 6:30 a.m.

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