Water Theft Adds To Costs For Tulsa Residential Customers

Wednesday, June 26th 2019, 5:29 pm
By: Brian Dorman

The city is searching for those stealing city water by using a slip or a stolen meter to avoid getting billed.

Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) is discovering as many as 70 homeowners who are trying to cheat the system to get free water every month.

“Besides the man hours it takes to monitor the process and enforce on the process, you know, those of us who live in the city of Tulsa pay for our water and when they’re stealing water we’re paying for that water as well," Brant Pitchford, with WIN said.

The city is losing as much as $60,000 dollars a year from those who are using slips or stolen meters.

“The cost to provide water to the city is actually spread out among everybody here in the city, and so when someone is trying to get water for free all that’s gonna do is increase the cost for everybody else,” Tory Stafford with the City of Tulsa said.

For those who have fallen behind on payments, the city says trying to get water for free is actually a very bad idea that in the end will cost the homeowner even more money.

“Catching these devises - there are fees involved with that that actually increases their fees and so that’s not really something they want to do, especially if they can’t afford it to begin with. That really compounds the issue and doesn’t give them a chance to make it right,” Stafford added.

There are about 126,000 thousand residential customers in Tulsa, so 70 may seem like a low number, but the city makes it clear - that $60,000-plus loss has to be paid somehow.

“We want to make sure we don’t have anybody out there that causes our rates to go up unnecessarily and so that’s why we’re actively looking for these types of situations."

If you’re aware of someone on your street stealing city water you’re asked to call 311 and someone from WIN will come to your neighborhood to check it out.

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