Do you have to pay for a broken water pipe you were unaware of?

Q: Do you have to pay a bill that you weren’t aware of? My friends water pipe broke and the water company is charging him 5thousand dollars for the month where he unknowing used 120,000 gallons when he typically uses less than 20,000. As soon as it was brought to his attention he fixed the pipe but the water company’s only response was “we’ll put you on a payment plan.” This is a gross injustice- what can he do to appeal the situation?

A: If the broken pipe was his private line and not the public main, your friend may be liable. The rationale of the water company is this. Why should they be liable when your friend was in the best position to realize there was a leak? This is not to say your friend was at fault, but is the more negligent of the two. Normally, water companies will enter into a payment plan in these situations. Your friend may want to review this with a lawyer or even call the PA Utility Commission for another opinion.


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