Tapped out: the story of an $87,000 water bill

Jan 21st, 2016 | By John Tracy

How going with the flow wasn’t an option for one Winnipegger

We’ve all experienced the shock of receiving a bill that is way higher than expected.  Each and every month I dread getting my cell phone bill because I have three teenage daughters who love using Instagram. However, the shock I get from my monthly cell phone bill is really nothing compared to what Winnipeg native Tom Kisiloski received when he opened an $87,000 water bill! Check out the story here.

Mr. Kisliloski purchased a home and did everything right.  He hired a lawyer and made the usual arrangements to ensure that the final utility accounts would be paid by the vendor.  The problem developed when the City of Winnipeg determined that the water meter had been read and reported incorrectly by the previous owner for about 30 years and when the meter was finally read correctly, it gave rise to the gargantuan bill which, pursuant to a City of Winnipeg policy adopted in 1978, became Mr. Kisliloski’s responsibility.

It is comforting to know that there is a way for homeowners to protect yourselves from such a shock.  Covered Title Risk # 16 of FCT’s Platinum Homeowner Policy covers losses arising when “There are liens or charges incurred for public utilities supplied to the Land Prior to the Policy Date, except for charges you agreed to pay”.  While I have never seen a bill as high as $87,000, Mr. Kisliloski’s situation is not unique – in any case whether there have either been multiple incorrect readings or estimated readings, there is always a risk that the final water bill can be a shocker. However, with the protection of an FCT homeowner policy in place, homeowners can prevent the drain this type of situation can have on their finances.  Now if I could only get insurance against Instagram overload …

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