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Ontario man gets $4,700 water bill after not getting one for 6 months


A Vaughan, Ont. man said he didn't get a water bill for six months, and when he did it was for $4,700.

"I was just totally shocked as that sum was right out of my budget," said Sam Cigna of Woodbridge. “They said it was water leakage."

When he got the huge bill a plumber blamed the water loss on leaky toilets. One toilet had a severe water problem, the other two toilets he turned off as they weren’t being used very often in his home.

Cigna feels he would have noticed the leaks much sooner if his utility company had not delayed sending him his bill.

“Alectra Utilities did not send me a bill for six months,” said Cigna.

Cigna was told he can go on a payment plan but is expected to have to pay the huge bill for the leaky toilet.

"They've agreed I can make payments for the next 12 months, but if they only would have let me know in a month or two I could have had a plumber look at it," said Cigna.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Alectra Utilities and a spokesperson said, “Our process is to advise customers of high water usage and flag bill issues that may be indicative of leaks or other problems. We’re investigating this situation and realized a billing irregularity with our internal process. We’ll continue to work directly with our customers to find a suitable resolution.”

There is an easy way to check if you are flushing water down the drain.

CTV News Toronto went to Humber College where Professor Jocelyn Fisher is in the plumbing department helping students become licenced plumbers.

Fisher said it’s a good idea to listen to toilets, especially in areas of your home you may not frequent as often, to see if you can hear running water or ghost flushes.

"There are three parts in the back of the toilet that can cause water loss but the most common is the flapper," said Fisher.

Fisher said the easiest way to see if you have a leak is to put food colouring or dye which can be found at a plumbing or grocery store in the back of the toilet tank.

"Once you put in some food dye, now you can see the whole back of the tank is a solid blue colour and if i just pull a little bit on the chain you are going to see a solid blue colour come into the bowl," said Fisher.

This is a simulation of what it would look like if you did have a leak. According to MY Water Toronto place the food colouring in the back of the tank and wait ten to fifteen minutes and do not flush.

If the colour seeps into the bowl then you have a leak.

More information on conducting the test can be found on the City of Toronto's website.

Cigna has been told he can apply for water forgiveness to pay a portion of the bill, with the city of Vaughan, but he still feels homeowners should get their statement more often than six months.

"They probably had difficulty sending the bill and they left me holding the bag," said Cigna. Top Stories

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