Sydney households being ripped off by faulty water meters

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Hundreds of thousands of Sydney families and businesses are potentially being ripped off by faulty water meter readings – with the problem only set to get worse after the O'Farrell Government cut the funding for the program that replaces broken meters by 18 per cent.

"More and more Sydney Water customers are being ripped off by dodgy water bills because of the O'Farrell Government's cuts to the program that replaces faulty water meters," Shadow Water Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"The O'Farrell Government has confirmed funding for the Sydney Water Meter Replacement Program – which replaces damaged and broken meters - will be cut from $11.6 million to $9.5 million this year.

"When a home has a faulty water meter, that household has to pay a bill estimated by Sydney Water, which in many cases sees families being overcharged.

"There are cases where individuals have demolished their homes, only to receive water bills that are higher than ever.

"We already know Sydney Water fell 36 per cent short of its own target to replace 426,000 faulty water meters by 30 June this year.

"The Detailed Review of Sydney Water Corporation's Operating and Capital Expenditure 2011 shows that 153,843 homes and businesses missed out on having their faulty, damaged or broken water meters replaced under Sydney Water's Meter Replacement Program.

"We also know that 51,000 Sydney Water customers currently receive estimated bills - where Sydney Water makes an estimate of water usage rather than reading a household meter.

"Premier O'Farrell promised to put downward pressure on the cost of living, but all these cuts will do is see more households being overcharged on their water bills.

"I urge people who believe they may have been overcharged for their water usage to call Sydney Water on 13 20 92 to discuss their bill."