New Orleans man receives water bill totaling over $8,500 in charges

Man Receives Eight Thousand Dollar Water Bill

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - What would you do if you opened your water bill and discovered you owed $8,559.09 for one month of service? That's exactly what happened to one New Orleans homeowner. So, he contacted FOX 8 for help.

"I was mad," said homeowner Wallace Combre.

He couldn't believe his eyes when he opened the bill. "Something's got to be wrong, drastically wrong," Combre said. "I won't have anything to eat on or anything else."

He's 74 and on a fixed income. He says a bill like that would wipe him out financially. "Give me a normal bill and I'll pay it, that I can't afford to pay, I'm not going to pay it," said Combre.

We contacted the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board about Combre's bill.

"We sent a worker out there and found two errors, two human errors, one was that the meter reader had picked up an extra digit on the meter reading and then the second thing was the biller was notified that this was a potentially high bill and failed to pull it out from the billing cycle," said Sewerage and Water Board Deputy Director, Bill Miller.

Miller says mistakes like this happen occasionally. "But not frequently and when it does we would certainly want them to bring that to our attention," said Miller.  And, since we brought it to their attention, Combre's bill has been corrected. Now, he only owes $86.48

The Sewerage and Water Board says they also discovered that Combre's senior citizen's discount had lapsed for his sanitation charges. They adjusted his payments and sent him an application so he could reapply for that discount.

If you have a problem with your bill, the Sewerage and Water Board says you can call 52-WATER, that's 504.529.2837 or visit their website at

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