Consumer hit with US$25K water bill

| 17/09/2018

Cayman Water , Ask Auntie, CNS Local LifeI just received a whopping US$25,000 water bill from Cayman Water due to a water pipe break on the outside of my home. I contacted Cayman Water to ask why they did not bother to contact me when they saw my bill increase from the normal $80 average that I pay per month and why couldn’t they tell that almost 1 million gallons more was pumping into my home. Their answer was simply they are not responsible for anything that breaks after their meter and there is no way for them to monitor any excess water coming in to my home like the Water Authority does for their customers.

According to them they are working on getting new smart water meters in but the process will most likely take another two years. Well, that doesn’t help me now, does it? I also contacted my insurance company and they refused to entertain my request for help, stating that if the pipe had burst on the inside of the house they would have paid to have the inside repaired but not the water bill. What is the sense of having property insurance when they cherry pick everything to ensure you don’t get a red cent when you have to submit a claim?

The only reason that I knew of the pipe break was that the guy who came out to read the meter at the end of the month saw the meter spinning like crazy and notified my tenant of the water break. I have no idea how long this leak was going on as one would think with a million gallons spewing out one would see it somewhere in the yard but other than that one spot we could find no other leaks.

My questions are: Isn’t it unreasonable to ask me to pay US$25K for a water bill that could have easily been prevented by simply having the right technology in place? How does 1 million additional gallons escape from their system and they have no idea where it went or where it is going? Which family home uses 1 million gallons of water a month? Why does the Water Authority, who is owned by the government, have this technology employed but the private firm Cayman Water doesn’t? Are there any consumer protection laws to assist people like myself who cannot afford to pay these outrageous bills? Does OfReg regulate Cayman Water and if so what are they doing to protect ordinary citizens like myself from these giants?

I would have been happy to pay double my normal water bill if they had caught it but to ask me to go from paying on average US$80 a month to US$25K because they don’t have safety systems in place to prevent this problem is wrong.

What would have happened if a little 80-year-old lady living alone in West Bay broke a pipe and they wanted to charge her US$25K? Would they simply just turn off the water and refuse her a connection if she couldn’t come up with the US$25K? This must happen all the time and it is a licence to print money for Cayman Water. Is there any way to find out if I have any recourse otherwise it looks like I may have my water turned off and I don’t have an alternate source to get water?

Auntie, I can’t sleep at night wondering where I will find this money and will I have water next month so please try to get me some answers urgently.

Auntie’s answer: I have to admit my mouth dropped open when I read this question. I have never heard of a situation like this before.

I contacted Cayman Water and spoke with company general manager Manuel Thomaz, who confirmed the bill amount and said he is in discussion with the reader “to help him the best way within our limitations”. What this means, Mr Thomaz explained and as the question indicated, is that under the company’s policy and as written in its contracts, its responsibility “ends with the property’s boundary”, adding, “We don’t have the tools to monitor what goes into the customer’s residence.”

He said that even automatic meters would not send readings on a real-time basis and that the company recommends customers check their meters once in a while to see if they are spinning.

After the Cayman Water employee noted the spinning meter in question, it was determined that 22 gallons of water per minute were spewing from the pipe. Mr Thomaz added that the meters can register flows of up to 30 gallons per minute. Based on a 27-day cycle, the company estimated that equalled more than 800,000 gallons of water lost. Those kinds of numbers are hard to fathom.

As to how this massive leak wasn’t noticed, he suggested it could have all drained into a nearby canal.

Whatever the reason, the leak wasn’t discovered, and while acknowledging this situation was “very rare” and “very, very unfortunate for the customer”, he said the responsibility for paying the bill lies solely with the account holder. He also noted how expensive it was for the company to filter, desalinate and pressurise that enormous amount of water.

At this point, the solution being discussed is a very extended payment plan. The usual company policy is accepting instalments over a maximum 12-month period but Mr Thomaz said that they would set up a plan to accommodate the customer’s ability to pay which could be extended for “many years”.

In addition, while OfReg does regulate Cayman Water, he said it is concerned with rates and properly managed finances of the company, noting they have to balance the interests of the customer with utility rates defined by the regulator. But, sadly for the reader in this case, Mr Thomaz added that OfReg does not have a policy in place covering compensation for the utility or the customer, and there is no compensation for leaks.

I have reached out to OfReg for confirmation and am awaiting a response from the Energy and Utilities Team. I will provide an update when I hear back.

I checked with the Water Authority, who said they could not comment on Cayman Water’s policies or procedures, but did provide its own, which you can read here. Frankly, they don’t offer much comfort that the same thing could not happen to one of their customers.

I wish I could offer some hope the reader. This is truly an awful turn of events. I also take the point about what would happen if an old-age pensioner encountered this issue; it would clearly prove disastrous. For most people, though, facing a bill of this size would be horrendous.

I am not an expert on utilities but it does seem to me that it would not be unreasonable to place some sort of cap on liability for consumers so that no one has to face a potential years-long financial burden for something that was not of their doing. This would also create an incentive for the utility companies to prevent this from happening.

Recent answers from Auntie

Still waiting for shops to open at airport

Still waiting for shops to open at airport

When are the duty-free shops at the airport going to re-open? The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) website says, ‘We are looking forward to our new Concessions Programme, coming online in phases in the summer of 2018’, but so far nothing is open. Auntie’s answer: I do not have the exact answer you are looking […]

What does the Transplant Council do?

What does the Transplant Council do?

Do you know what the role of the Human Tissue Transplant Council is? Or purpose? Auntie’s answer: I have recently written about organ donation which mentioned the council (see Wants to register as an organ donor). Since that column, Gina Berry has been named the chair and council members have been appointed. The main functions […]

Unhappy with road repair after trenching

Unhappy with road repair after trenching

If a utility company digs up a government asphalt residential road to lay piping, are you able to find out what the rules are regarding how they are required to leave the road? Our residential road was dug up all down one side, the company did not replace/cover the trench in the same asphalt but a […]

Wants to buy new seabed maps

Wants to buy new seabed maps

Will the public be able to purchase the new seabed maps recently put out by the UK?  If so, how much will

Tags: , , ,

Category: Ask Auntie, Misc Questions

Comments (84)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you are on sand it can leak forever without making a pool, but it looks like it was your leak, not theirs, so you are screwed. Build a cistern, buy a pump and a pressure tank. It will cost a lot less than $25k.

  2. Someone who cares..... says:

    We can debate smart meters and how “bad” the Cayman Water Company is until we are blue in the face.

    Fact is this consumer has been hit with a $25k bill.

    Someone suggested on FB that if 25k people each donated $1, we can help this person and get the bill paid.
    We have more than 25k people living here.

    Through this medium, I am asking CNS to contact the person or if the person is reading this themselves and consent to let us know the account and people could each deposit $1 to it.

    Let’s show what Caymankind is really about……helping your neighbour.

    Mr.Thomas from Cayman Water is a businessman, he doesn’t own the company, he just manages it, he has to report to stockholders so he can’t just write off the bill.

    I know there may be some that may gawk at even donating $1, think that it could have been or maybe next time, you or any of your family members.
    It is $1! We spend more than that on our lattes from extravagant coffee shops!

    I believe in my fellow Caymanian residents, let’s help this person out!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed to donate $ 1, in fact i would donate $5, i live in the Brac so let me know how to donate it

  3. Anonymous says:

    “there is no way for them to monitor any excess water coming in to my home like the Water Authority does for their customers”.

    We are with the Water Authority and they told me that they have no way of monitoring this. I have asked on more than one occasion and am told it’s not possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      They both need to put in better meters with the technology to monitor excess flow and to detect leaks if they don’t already have it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Water should be mandated by Government to put modern technology in place to protect their consumers and to avoid situations such as these.

    To just tell consumers you will have to pay or you will no longer have water is utterly and morally wrong particularly when there is no other competitor to go to. To coerce someone through intimidation is illegal in most countries but seems to sanctioned in Cayman and these companies are willing to say they are doing it and no one can stop them..The arrogance of Mr. Manuel Thomaz to say that OFReg has no control over their policies shows the level that they are willing to go without care or concern for their customers.

    Monopolies in Cayman need to be more regulated in the light of the fact that they are guaranteed profits. These profits should not be by having these draconian policies and there should be safeguards in place to protect the consumer.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When was the meter last time the meter was calibrated? I believe there is a certificate that is issued to Cayman Water each time this is done. The customer needs to ask for this..With that amount of water and not being able to see it makes one wonder if the meter may have not been defective..

  6. Anonymous says:

    When this happened to me they came out and changed the meter but I still had to pay the excess which in my case was about $500. My question to them was why they had to change the meter if the water leak was my problem. They also told me if I wanted they could have the meter sent overseas to their supplier at my cost to have it checked..Why would I do that? Added expense and I’ll bet the meter will be just fine. Strange though they changed it out for no reason?? Something stinks!

    • Live and let leak says:

      1.02pm I am not an engineer, but testing a water meter seems fairly simple. You run 10 gallons of water through it and check the reading, it’s not rocket science. To tell you they have to send it overseas to be checked is ridiculous, in reality it’ s their way of avoiding having to admit their meter is defective.

      • Anonymous says:

        You doofus they send it off so if you don’t believe the utility’s report on the meter, you have an independent body to test it for you so that there is zero doubt that the utility is telling you your meter isn’t defective when it actually is.

  7. Your best solution! says:

    Twice in the past 10 years I’ve been hit with a thousand $ water bill from my normal ~ $100!! ‘City water’ was leaking into my well so zero warning/ other time a pipe leak inside home while not rented a month…both times a call from Cayman Water Co let me know, but TOO LATE! If a local magistrate had his water cut off & lost a 3 yr legal battle as someone pointed out, forget it, ZERO mercy!! I’ve been begging Cayman Water for a new smart meter for years…zip, nada!
    Here are your 2 best options, which I have done one & am searching for best smart meter to buy myself & have installed just inside their antique meter on my property, for the other:
    As you know, MOST of your water is probably either flushing your toilet or watering your thirsty fruit trees & yard, so if you have a well or cistern have your local plumber hook up a separate system for those alone, but still connected to your city water via a valve you can easily turn. Mainly you need to buy a half hp pump, a pressure tank, a foot valve & a few other small parts I call ‘investments’ to save you future thousands…this works!!
    On the rare occasions when my well goes dry due to someone leaving the garden hose on or a toilet runs & runs (usually just a bad flapper so replace it! my wife yells haha), as soon as someone notices the toilet won’t flush they run out & switch to city water for a few hours (you should know EXACTLY where that particular valve is located! Get metal 90 degree valves NOT pvc!)), gives time for well to slowly fill while you find the ‘leak culprit’ & fix it, then switch back to well asap! Sometimes you have to use the city water to ‘prime your pump’ but easy once you’re shown by Mr Merwin or any other good plumber, has truly cut my water bills in half for MANY years now!!!
    Remember, you only need good city water INSIDE your home for showers & sinks, not toilets or outside hoses
    Smart Meter: All I want is any device that can warn me if water runs through my meter non-stop for, say, 20 minutes!! If anyone finds a reasonably priced solid smart meter please let me know! Am about to research ($2000 to install + $80/mo can’t afford!), Water Hero (magnetic device sounds good!) Sensas & Badger Meter

  8. Anonymous says:

    I had a neighbour that his pipe burst from the house side of the Cayman Water installed valve and ran up his bill considerable and caused damage to his property. Not only did they send him a bill for the water usage they sent him a bill for the repair. It was their valve which was incorrectly installed by their employee. Must be great to make money of your negligence.

  9. Anonymous says:

    From the many responses of people here with “leaks” that miraculously fixed itself, to me, it seems quite clear that there is a problem at the water company. There cannot be that many mysterious leaks on islands that also disappears all by themselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Check out what the equivalent of our OfReg in the UK and Wales demands of their water companies when there is a leak either for the company or the consumer…Maybe OfReg needs to copy and paste this into their regulations…Cayman Water is getting away with charging these insane amounts and it needs to stop..

    • Anonymous says:

      There could be many legal remedies. Consumer protection, insurance etc.
      But let look at pipes
      – age
      – who installed it
      – material it is made of
      – who manufactured it
      –is water pressure stable
      -cause of the leak
      Etc etc.
      Pipes should not leak without a cause.

  11. Lorrie Furniss says:

    I just ordered a new water meter from Cayman Water. I suggest everyone do the same.

    Many years ago when I was a property manager, I had an excel spreadsheet to compare water readings each month and I could keep track of the water company bills and what I was billing to the consumers. I knew that a peron new to island would consume a certain amount and a local would consume another amount. I knew how to budget the bills and for what I was billing was in the correct ball park.

    To the contrary of this situation, I found a few water meters were faulty and the meters were not correctly registering all of the water used. In other words the consumer’s usage was more than the actual bill.

    I am so happy I have a 25K cistern! So to the person with the 25K water bill, no one likes to feel cheated and taken advantage of. I will happily share some of my water with you!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible that the meter malfunctioned at some point and the reading is off? Seems almost impossible for almost a million gallons to be in someone’s yard and they don’t see it..

  13. Brian Roffey says:

    We at CostWatch work hard to provide practical solutions to this very real problem by providing leak detection and automatic shut-off services. I know this doesn’t help with the writer’s current situation but wanted to highlight that there is a solution available locally to protect homeowners and businesses from high water bills. Please get in touch if you’d like more info.

    • Anonymous says:

      The water co should check meters every month!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be fooled people. The only solution is to replace the water meter with an auto shut off meter. Anything else is fitted downstream which can’t protect the upstream side to the meter.

  14. Anonymous says:

    > I have reached out to OfReg for confirmation and am awaiting a response from the Energy and Utilities Team.


  15. Anonymous says:

    The fact that they don’t check the meter every single month should be grounds enough to sue. You can (going to pizza guys analogy) charge me for a meaty supreme extra cheese pizza that I order 60% of the time when the other 40% I only order plain cheese or just breadsticks.

    What about the fact that people rent? What if the renters before me ran water way more than I do? I have to pay for them. Hello! This needs addressed. We just had this happen to us when they called our landlord saying the meter was spinning and our bill was high. No leaks found, but the bill is still there.

  16. Anonymous says:

    CNS, did you contact Ofreg for their take on this..would love to hear the answer from that institution or are they to busy fighting amongst themselves..

    This is heartless and they need to hold Cayman Water accountable in some form..

    CNS: Auntie did contact OfReg and will update if they weigh in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, they are a little busy at the moment, after all you cannot answer the phone while in a choke-hold and somebody boxing the crap out of you.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hire a lawyer and fight it. Ridiculous that they expect the homeowner to just cough up $25k for what is obviously a mistake.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you seen the price of lawyers here? His lawyers bill could soon outstrip the $25,000 he owes to the water company.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Auntie – You and your readers might have more success pressuring Government & the utilities to have the utilities take out insurance whereby any leak over X% of the average bill is paid by the insurance. It raises everyone’s bill a little bit (since the utilities will pass the insurance cost along) but saves everyone form the risk of crippling leak-bills.

    PS> Good chance to remind people to turn off water before, and check carefully when turning it back on after, a hurricane. One cracked pipe from an uprooted tree or shifting ground and the hurricane just got more costly for you.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me 1 billion dollars lost by CIG . Noone noticed.
    What kind of water company has no bells and whistles to detect loss of 1mil.gallons water they produce. They have production capacities, monthly averages, etc.. Noone noticed?
    How come they are allowed to run this kind of business?
    They should be paying a penalty to this homeowner for emotional distress.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can see the upwards trend if you plotted the overall system consumption over time definitely.. But it’s more complicated than that.

      At very generous estimates, that might have been an extra 3-4% production demand over the span of 27 days. Work it back with me. Estimate they produce and sell 1 million a day. 27 days x 1m = 27m. Their 800,000 gallons leaked, or rounded up to 1m / 27m * 100% =
      3.7%. Also note that they never produce the same amount every day; some allowance up or down in trending % needs to be allowed.

      Do you sound the alarms for that and trigger a service area wide investigation for leaks over an additional 4% every time you encounter such demands or what if this is seasonal or something else? I could completely understand something >10%.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Cayman Water for your input…You just don’t get it! We understand your policies. What we don’t understand is why you won’t provide smart meters that can detect excess flow or that can have a shut off after a certain amount of gallons have been used..Don’t tell us the technology isn’t there. Is it because you are to happy reaping the profits without having this type of metering?

        • Anonymous says:

          Amen! Do they ever put there profits back into any infrastructure..It seems to me they are always digging up and destroying our roads for leaks..Maybe if they spent the money on proper infrastructure and meters these issues wouldn’t happen…

  20. Anonymous says: might want to question Mr Thomaz’ statement below…I believe they were handing you a bunch crap here…

    “He said that even automatic meters would not send readings on a real-time basis and that the company recommends customers check their meters once in a while to see if they are spinning.”

    One quick search of the internet For smart waters and this came up…so yes there is technology out there that can do it but maybe Cayman Water thinks it is too expensive and they can make extra money of their hardworking customers who have no choice but to deal with their monopoly..

    • Anonymous says:

      This looks fantastic. We should lobby Ofreg. to force the Water companies to put similar technology in place..

  21. Anonymous says:

    Paying off the $25K monthly for 25 years at no finance cost would still double this person’s monthly bill for said period. Crazy.

    Consolidated Water has made operational profits running into US$millions each year for the past five years.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that this doesn’t happen all the time, and that $25K isn’t much to them in the grand scheme of things. It’s rather a bigger deal to an individual who hasn’t done anything wrong.

    There’s clearly an ethically correct course of action here. Shame Mr. Thomaz and Cayman Water won’t rise to it.

    In the meantime, perhaps they could look at investing some of their ample reserves in the aforementioned, absent monitoring infrastructure so as to better service their customers and protect themselves.

  22. Mr. BOOMshakalack says:

    Local caymanian company costwatch have technology that could have automatically notified you of abnormal water usage and potential leaks.

    • Bedroom Bully says:

      Yea, yea. Nice advertising, sigh. Now, what’s the monthly cost for this? Another added expense for sure. It would have caught the high water usage (all things being equal and working) – but it’s still another expense the customer has to swallow. It should be the authority’s responsibility to monitor at scale, not a money making opportunity for another private company. I’m not saying don’t use CostWatch, but you saying so after this event is a cheap cross-sell.

  23. Anonymous says:

    There are meters which will shut off water at a pre-set level, I would like to replace mine with that type, but the water authority would never allow it. Yes, I could install it down stream of the meter, but I would prefer to protect my side fully from the meter down.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Years ago we found out that our meter wasn’t actually read but that a monthly guesstimate was billed by the company. We realized this when we were off Island for a month and still got billed roughly the same amount as the prior month. When we complained someone came out to check the meter which was actually broken………..

    • Anonymous says:

      Similar thing happened to me with water authority. They said they sent my meter to Texas to be independently tested to see if it was malfunctioning. They came back and told me that it was fine but they installed a new meter anyway.

      No consumer protection at all. I hope this reader fights this.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This is a perfect example of how these monopolies are getting away with murder in these islands.

    Someone in the legal fraternity needs to stand up with this gentleman and give him the legal advice he needs and if necessary drag these thieves to court.

    Where does the government stand? Has the gentleman contacted his local representative. He should. They need to know this goes on.

    If I were him I would blast this to every news media and social media possible and I would be on Cayman 27 News this evening. This is a story that must be told and something needs to be done about it.

    Who has $25K sitting around to pay a water bill?This has to be criminal otherwise we need to change the laws to make it a criminal act.

    • Bedroom Bully says:

      Nearly 10 years ago someone that was an attorney had similar issue with the authority at their residence, he was John Masters, a senior Crown counsel !

      At the end of the day, even he was still told to go pound pavement and pay up or else.

      Here’s the story:

      • Anonymous says:

        You do realize this is a lot like ordering a pizza for delivery, getting the exact order delivered to your doorstep, shake hands with the delivery driver, take the pizza from him INTO your property, but then you trip and fall with it.

        You get invoiced by the pizza place monthly, and you pay for the other pizzas you ate, but refuse to pay for the pizza you tripped and fell with.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bad analogy….Difference here is you would have known you tripped and fell with the pizza..The homeowner had no clue about the water leakage. It is apparent that not even Cayman Water knew about the leak until the went to read the meter. They should have better metering devices to detect these issues particularly at the prices they charge and the large profits they make. Why not take some of their profits in invest in new infrastructure. It is criminal that they are allowed to continue in this way..

        • Bedroom Bully says:

          Well, that’s an expensive pizza then. Should shop elsewhere…oh wait, there is no elsewhere to choose. Monopolies is a thing ya see.

  26. Ron Ebanks says:

    To me that 25k water bill is something that the water Company and the home owner should look seriously into .
    The Water Company said they don’t have any way to monitor the water that goes into the home , I understands that , but why not have some sort of an alarm system that notifies the Company of such big waste .
    Then here comes the home owner/renters responsibility , did you not notice that big drop in your water pressure inside the house ?
    When your waterline is broken ,it would cause less pressure to the house , and also you will see a big wet spot in the yard between the house and water meter that will tell you that you’re going to get a 25k water bill , if you don’t turn off the water at the meter and fix you line .
    And always remember before go digging in your yard , learn where your utilities lines are buried because if you throw that digging bar into your electric power line you’re dead .
    I am sorry for your big water bill , but you could ask the Company to go 50/50 with you , maybe they will knock the whole thing out .

    And remember to pay attention to all the details of your home .

  27. Fred the Piemaker says:

    That’s over 4000 cubic feet a day! Or put it another way, a 40ft long, 20 ft wide, 5ft deep swimming pool of water each and every day. Its inconceivable that amount of water leaked without the property owner or their tenant noticing. Even if there was a leak, I would suggest the owner gets the meter independently tested to make sure its functioning accurately and not massively over reading .

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow..That is a lot of water. It is inconceivable that Cayman Water could have allowed that to happen and not contact the homeowner..Where is their sense of community care? I feel for this man. I pray that the Cayman Water feels some compassion for him.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Just ANOTHER example of the lawless cayman islands best! You have to love the constant reminder around the island to conserve water, use it responsibly, etc, but when the pathetic company that supplies it doesn’t notice (nor has the means to monitor) a mere 800,000 gallons going to one residential customer, all they can do is reveal how stupid they are and assume the homeowner has the extended to pay for it. Honestly, per capita, you people live in the most corrupt part of the world. I wouldn’t pay it. Let them take you to court.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would not pay it either. I would dig a well immediately and purchase water reservoirs for rain water.

      • Anonymous says:

        Moratorium on new cisterns, thanks to arrival of Aedes A.

        • Anonymous says:

          In the Brac we buy big thick plastic tanks, pump and pressure tank, they work fine with truck and rain water.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Yep, nothing on this scale, but I had a $500 bill instead of the usual $80 for no reason at all…they said something must be leaking in the house. It wasn’t. A bill this size has to be illegal, abuse of power and privilege, abuse of human rights and I would urge a lawyer to take this pro-bono to set the standard for the rest of us, so we all know what our rights are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Same issue you I had with Water Authority. Bill went from $70.00 to over $200.00 in one month. Checked for leaks internally/externally….no leak found. These companies are definitely doing something sketchy to rip ppl off. All of a sudden the bill is back down to $60.00. I would not paying $25k for a damn water bill.

  30. Anonymous says:

    25k!? The home owner should buy a home desalination system for about half that and go off the grid. There’s no way I’d pay them a penny!

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG! There must be some recourse. A lawyer should be able to take this on and get the Water Company to pay his fee at the conclusion.

      Heartless and unconscionable!!

  31. Anonymous says:

    So basically this heartless Mr.Thomaz just said, Sorry, it’s the customers’ fault, he has to pay the $25K or else we cut it off..Isn’t it somewhere in the Human rights law that all people have the right to water?

    My advice to this customer is seek legal help. Even if nothing comes of it and you have to pay the bill it will expose these rotten companies for what they are..Somebody needs to blaze the trial and I hope for your sake that you will find a good lawyer that is willing to take this on free of charge so as to do the Cayman Islands community a favor..

    My thoughts and prayer are with you. These people are heartless and merciless and the bottom line is the only thing they care about..Where is their sense of social responsibility? They have none simply because they have no competition and are not regulated.

  32. Anonymous says:

    This is a classic Cayman Islands shakedown going back decades. I know home owners that have had $5000+ a month sequential bills applied for leaks that were never found, yet later “healed” on their own. Seems to be one of the unwritten “taxes” of home ownership.

    • Anonymous says:

      Happened to me. And I paid to have the meter tested cause that had to be it – right? But nothing wrong with meter and “leak” healed itself the next month. Wow. And there is nothing you can do but pay up

      • Anonymous says:

        Happened to me too. 40 dollar monthly bill turned to 700. Paid for plumber to check everything paid water authority to have meter tested and then everything was fine after.

        • Anonymous says:

          You fail to acknowledge this factual scenario:

          it is entirely possible for your bill to jump. Then have every auditor and plumber on Earth inspect your plumber only to find NO leaks at all..

          Only for the reason to be is that your child or friend or someone that doesn’t like you left on a tap or hose or valve by accident or purposely. Who’s responsible for the bill in this case? How can you prove a hose wasn’t left running?

          Unfortunately no water utility can account for every scenario that happens past the meter. That’s why it’s your responsibility to guard your pizza after the pizza man gives it to you.

  33. Say it like it is says:

    Reaching out to OfReg is a joke. The will not have a clue and per standard procedure will refer to consultants for a response just as they did with the Chairman of the Board problem.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I would encourage this home owner to seek legal counsel. This is totally unconscionable and excessive and one might say immoral on Cayman Water to enforce their policy in this situation. I wonder how Mr. Thomaz would feel if this happened to him…WOuld the policy apply to him as well?

    It would be interesting to know how OfReg will handle this. For too long Cayman has allowed these monopoly’s to rape our people with no recourse.

    The politicians especially the Minister responsible and the Acting Governor needs to be aware that this and do something to remedy not just this case but any to come.

  35. Anonymous says:

    There should be a legal remedy. They are responsible for detecting 1mil.gallons leak, regardless of their own policies. If they can’t detect such a leak in their system, they shouldn’t be in business to start with. Period.
    There’s no way a court would hold you responsible for something that you had no knowledge of. It is them, not you must have a system in place to prevent such cases. The fact that they don’t, is not an excuse. Their business license must be revocated.

    Do research, similar court cases in the US, UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      The WAC have a similar policy and the leak if there was one was on the homeowner’s side so technically it’s not in their system. A wifi enabled smart meter installed right after CWC’s meter would have alerted the homeowner even if they were not on island. Easy to say now but every provider has a policy and ignorance is not an effective defence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Disagree. We are talking about the loss of 1mil gallons of water that went undetected for a month not just for the homeowner, but for the utilitity as well. Clearly “due care” problems. Not homeowner ignorance.

        Just because a company has its own policies, it doesn’t mean they’re legally enforceable. No one has challenged it yet.

        ” Due care refers to the effort made by an ordinarily prudent or reasonable party to avoid harm to another, taking the circumstances into account. It refers to the level of judgment, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.”

        An ordinary person would not be reasonably expected to detect an invisible underground pipe leak. Unless he is an expert or his responsibility for such detection is conspicuously spelled out in his contract with the company and he was instructed how to do that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why doesn’t Cayman Water employ this technology if it exists? The customer is already paying to rent the current meter installed by Cayman Water and is not allowed to provide their own meter so if Cayman Water is going to charge for a meter anyways why not employ this technology…I think we all know why!

        • Anonymous says:

          I rather buy my own. If WAC and CWC install these smart meters you will be paying $15 or more per month for meter rental. Both water suppliers are obviously behind the curve and I predict will eventually have to change to smart meters. How long this will take is anybody’s guess, but in the meantime anyone building a new house might want to use high density polyethylene pipe and connections as it is less prone to leakage.

  36. SSM345 says:

    Same thing happened to my mother about 10yrs ago; she got a $37K water bill; thank F the leak was inside her property boundary and they covered it otherwise she would have died from the stress that bill gave her.

  37. Anonymous says:

    OH Yes that’s the same attitude that you get when you call for assistance or go into the office to pay your bill. Those people in the office have been there to long and need to be replaced with new and more helpful customer service employees.
    I am sure that the younger generation can assist with a better attitude then what is there.
    Also can you imagine that the bill is due on the 17th of each month and if it is not paid by the 18th there charge a penalty fee how convenient when most people get paid at the end of the month.

  38. Natasha says:

    This has happened to me but it wasn’t $25k. Rather about $1500 or so. I was renting at the Shores and inexplicably my bill jumped from about $150 to $1500 for no reason. I talked to my landlord and she said she had about 3 or 4 other tenants with the same problem. She suspected it was a bubble or something in a pipe upstream of our houses. i.e., Cayman Water’s problem. But despite her best efforts she never got Cayman Water to even think that it could be their fault. So we paid it. My landlord paid for a plumber to double check everything inside the property and of course he found nothing. Had to be Cayman Water. Has this lady considered legal action? For US$25k I think it amounts to “unconscionable conduct” under common law. If I were her I’d ask a lawyer to take it on – pro bono perhaps.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yes, our lawyers delight in working pro bono, they are all angels of mercy and compassion…lol!

  39. Chris Burke says:

    I have had two large bills due to leaking pipe in the last 12 months from Cayman water. The first was for $13,000, the second was for $10,000. Cayman water seem to have very little compasion when it comes to situations like this. You have have 3 choice. 1. Pay your bill in full, 2. Pay in installments which presumably have interest payments attached or 3. You get cut off. In every other first world country it’s a human right to have access to clean water. There will always be leaks but homeowners need the chance to react quickly to a leak and not find out at the end of the month when Cayman water send someone to do a meter reading. Just because Cayman water do not want to invest in updating their prehistoric meter systems the customer should not be responsible in full. The government should cap a water bill at x amount or make Cayman water responsible for 50% of all leaks to help encourage cayman water to update to a smart meter system as at the moment Cayman water have no motivation to do so due to the monopoly they have.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Last week I saw guys from water authority – Cayman checking meters in my area, after the bills were paid. I hope they were just making sure our meters were working properly. If so thanks guys.

    • Anonymous says:

      First of all why would you two morons thumbs down this comment? Secondly could all of these people who have had similar problems with the company bring a class action law suit against them? Are the pipes the company’s property or the homeowners?. Last but not least I really hope this person can get some remedy from the company on this issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        Pipes are the companies, up until the meter after the meter its the landowner’s pipe. So, any leak on ‘their’ side is their problem and doesn’t affect the meter reading. Any leak on your side is your problem and is reflected in the spinning meter.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think we all understand that, Genius..We just want to know why they would allow someone to pump out a million extra gallons of their water and don’t tell they didn’t miss an extra million gallons..Maybe they do know and just let these leak forever so they can charge the customer and guaranteed they will get paid…Not nice!

  41. Anonymous says:

    1 Mil gallons , just Wow. That amount of leakage should have resulted in low water pressure inside the house , which the occupants would have noticed ?The poster should have more immediate concerns that the amount of water didn’t liquefy under their house & cause some foundation or structural damage , I’d be having this checked , as it could then involve an insurance claim for damages. Even a small leak in a cracked 1″ pvc pipe near our meter , on the house side , managed to consume $400.00 in water over our normal $70.00 monthly bill. That was with even catching the leak within a few overnight hours ( leaked onto the garden & was plainly visible).