Update: One day after this story aired, the Board of Water Supply replaced Stepulis’ broken water meter.
An East Oahu man who has been trying to correct his water bill for more than a year is frustrated.
Not because his bill is too high, but because he believes his bill is too low.
Every day, John Stepulis uses water like everyone else. But, unlike everyone else, his water bill reads zero.
It all started in 2012 when Stepulis learned there was a water leak at his home in Mariner’s Ridge.
“We were getting water bills of a $1,000, $1,200 for a few months. That was valid,” Stepulis said.
He paid those bills. But then in April 2013, his bill changed, and it’s never been the same.
For more than a year, every water bill that Stepulis received showed a negative balance with the words: DO NOT PAY.
“Then I thought, well we’re getting free water, but then I thought oh my goodness, I’m going to get a bill for $2,000 one of these days,” Stepulis said.
Did Stepulis overpay from the water leak? Were these statements some kind of correction or just a big mistake? He says he’s called the Board of Water Supply’s customer service department numerous times looking for answers.
“One time they told me, ‘Oh well, those are incorrect readings. They’re just estimates.’ Another time they said, ‘Well, we don’t know what’s going on.’ Another time they said, ‘Well, it’s your meter, we’ll change your meter.'”
Stepulis says he’s even emailed the Board of Water Supply his meter reading, which hasn’t changed since this issue began.
When asked how he felt, Stepulis replied, “A combination of irritated and do these people know what they’re doing?”
Stepulis contacted KHON2 for help, so we called the Board of Water Supply on Thursday and later that evening received a statement that said: “The Board of Water Supply is aware of Mr. Stepulis’ situation. We spoke with Mr. Stepulis today to assure him we will be working to resolve his meter and billing concerns.”
If this turns out to be a big, year-long mistake Stepulis won’t be mad. He just wants an explanation.
“You don’t mind paying what you owe?” KHON2 asked.
“If I have to pay, I owe it, I have to pay it, yeah,” he said.