TORONTO -- A Markham, Ont. woman said she was shocked after receiving a utility bill close to $5,000.

“I almost had a heart attack,” Ashley Nunes said, speaking to CTV News Toronto. "Christmas is coming and now there’s no money for Christmas."

Nunes, who rents out a portion of her home, said she has a roommate to help pay the rent, but the utility bills are in her name. Nunes said she started having difficulty getting an accurate water bill in September, but said she contacted her utility provider several times asking for it.

“As a result of not being billed for four months, I now have a very large bill that I am responsible for," Nunes said.

Nunes' water bill is with Alectra Utilities which gives her a combined water and hydro bill. Nunes said she was told her water reading was delayed because of “system issues.” 

And when she finally did get her water bill it was about $4,700.

Markham sent an inspector to the house and found there was a leaky toilet in her roommate’s adjoining bathroom. The landlord replaced the toilet, but now Nunes is expected to foot the bill.

She said she’s always paid her bills on time and just wants a fair resolution. 

“They [Alectra Utilities] neglected to provide the bill on time and we didn't know there was something occurring in the household. All the additional delays led to additional bills," Nunes said. 

When CTV News contacted Alectra, a spokesperson said the company provides water billing services "on behalf of the city of Markham."

“We are in contact with the city and the customer to resolve her concerns as quickly and fairly as possible.”

After Alectra Utilities and the city of Markham reviewed Nunes’ case they agreed to reduce her bill by $3,200. She will now have to pay a reduced bill of $1,500, a settlement she said she can agree to. 

“I just wanted it to be fair and I feel like the outcome of this has definitely been a fair one,” Nunes said

To see if you have a water leak you can write down the number on your water meter before you go to bed and don't use water overnight. In the morning check the number on the meter and if it's changed, you could have a leak. 

To see if you have a leaky toilet you can put food colouring in the back of the toilet tank. Wait 30 minutes and if the colouring has made its way into the toilet bowl then that could mean you could have a leaky toilet.