Troubleshooters trying to help woman with high water bill

Posted at 10:54 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 00:34:01-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — "No water. We don't have no water," Maria Sanchez Ortiz said as she turned on the faucet in her kitchen sink and nothing came out.

Sanchez Ortiz said she hasn't had running water service since March 9.

So she has to buy water, so she can wash dishes, bathe herself, and her son at her Annaville home.

And she says she has to boil water 4-5 times a day to do that.

"And how much extra is this costing you?" we asked.

"Oh my god," Sanchez Ortiz said. "I've already spent like $300 in just water."

So this is why she called us.

Her city utility bill, dated January 2019, for a little more than $5,600.

"I owed them a little over $10,000," she said. "I've brought it down to a little over $5,000."

She received a letter from the city in September last year, asking her to agree to make five payments of nearly $1,000 each.

She's tried to keep up with that payment plan, plus pay her regular utility bill, but that's not easy, as you can imagine.

Ortiz admits she may pay her bill a day or two late, but never months late.

She further claims the city has never come out to her home to check her meter or check for leaks.

"They've never offered to do anything except collect what they want. The money," she said. "That's it."

In fact, Ortiz showed us a phone call she claims she received from the city Tuesday asking if she could pay $1,500 Wednesday to restore her water service.

So she's called us.

And we've called Margaret Morin, manager of the utility business office.

Ortiz has also hired an attorney.

And claims city councilwoman Paulette Guajardo wants to help her.

And so do we.

We'll continue making calls until we get someone to help Ortiz.