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Original post made by Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows, on Dec 4, 2015

Received my water and sewer statement from the city of Pleasanton 11/19/15 for their meter reading on 11/10/15. I noticed immediately that their reading was in error. The meter reader recorded 17 units for my statement. The correct reading should have been 7 units. The meter reader over stated by 10 units, more than my household consumed.

I read my water meter every week and I record the reading on a spread sheet to track it. I record it by date and time. If I happen to notice the city water meter reader reading my water meter, I immediately go out and read the water meter after him and record it on my spread sheet. I also record on the spread sheet that the city water meter reader read my water meter, date and time. My spread sheet breaks it down, to how many gallons of water my household consumes daily.

Immediately after I noticed the error on my statement, I went out to read the meter and photographed the reading on the water meter. I emailed my photograph of the current meter read, and my spread sheet to the city staff.

The city staff came out and re-read the meter. They called me, informed me that they have rolled back the recorded reading on my statement and revised my statement to credit it 17.48. Rolled back the meter reading from 497 units to 487 units.

The city staff reading water meters obviously can have errors when they are recording the number of units on your water meter. It may save a few dollars, as in my case 17.48 if you track your household consumption. Of course, when the meter reader comes around the next time, he would be in a state of confusion trying to record reverse number of units consumed.

Comments (11)

a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Dec 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm

If all you got credited on TEN UNITS was $17.48 there is STILL something wrong. Did i miss something ?


Posted by Up Date
a resident of Foothill High School
on Dec 4, 2015 at 8:01 pm

You Missed.
Know what you are consuming, know what you are paying for it.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Lifetime Healthcare and 278k salaries have to come from somewhere

Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 4, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Does it really matter? Suppose that they did misread your meter and overcharged you 10 units. When they come back next time and read your meter correctly, they wil compare the new reading to the incorrectly recorded previous reading and think that you used 10 units less water than you actually did.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 5, 2015 at 10:46 am

@Sam - yes this is a big deal, especially if this was in the summer. 10 units can easily put you into the penalty range. And our water department is quick to penalize.

Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Dec 5, 2015 at 11:09 am

Bill, that might be true if it happened in the summer, but since it didn't I don't see what difference it would have made in this case other than the people at the water department scratching their heads and wondering how Mike Austin managed to use about negative 3 units of water in his next bill.

Posted by Agree
a resident of Mission Park
on Dec 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

I would have never thought of it until you wrote this but my usage was inexplicably 10 units higher than it should have been. Human error or systematic corruptions?

Posted by Francis
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Dec 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Another problem in penalties are if the meter reader cites your meter as "light" by 10 units one reading, then they correct it by reading accurately the next time, showing the missed 10 units in the following billing period.

By catching up to the true reading, the meter reading is correct this time, and there is no longer a way to show the old reading, so you are low one time, then up the extra 10 units the next time, and qualifying for a penalty.

I would say Michael Austin is the exception by charting his water usage weekly. I go to work 5 days a week, but if I were retired, then I could chart the water usage and challenge any errors in the manual readings.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


I am semi retired, own and operate a freight and cargo inspection service from my home office, Monday through Friday. I do my yard work Saturday. I read my water meter on Sunday, or when I see the city reader out there. It takes just a couple of minutes to remove the cover, to read the meter.

If you get started reading your meter once a week, I recommend wearing leather gloves, open the water meter cover slowly. There may be a variety of critters present, have a safe look, before putting in your hand, or face too close in.

Posted by Neal
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Following up on Michael's comment, after I received a bill with penalties, I started tracking my water usage daily until I saw a pattern since my sprinklers ran on different days. I realized the timing was off and they were running longer than expected, so I made an adjustment and my usage went way down.

Reading the meter may not be convenient, but tracking the usage 1-2 weeks gives you a good idea how much you use on a regular basis.

For what it's worth, I reduced my water consumption by almost 20% in the last billing cycle, but my bill went down only 2%. Some incentive there, right?

Posted by RememberinJune
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2015 at 11:11 pm

When you receive your water bill, remember election for 3 of the Zone 7 board members is in June. We all need to pay attention to the voting records of the incumbents and vote out those that voted for the 30% rate increase not too mention the 15% raise for the general manager!!!!

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