Texas Couple Surprised at $7.7 M Water Bill

Jan. 9, 2004

Chuck and Stella Richison of Corpus Christi, Texas, received a water bill for an astounding $7,714,510.21. Normally, their bill is around $50—$60. The Richisons were sent the bill from the city of Corpus Christi, which has acknowledged that the bill was sent in error because of a computer glitch.

Richison, whose meter had been recently replaced, called the Utility Business Office water department to question if the figures were correct and were met by silence on the other end of the phone. "Then, they all chuckled and they freaked out," Chuck said.

"It was just a timing issue," office manager Michelle Workman said. "It caused it to overbill." The city later adjusted the bill, acknowledging he was overcharged.

"You're not too worried about it because you know even if it is real, you can't afford to pay it," Chuck said.

Stella said she opened the letter from the utility and handed it over to her husband, saying: "Honey, you've got a bill."

"They must have been thinking we were watering all of Corpus Christi," Stella said.

Richison, who kept the misprinted bill, hadn't yet received a new invoice by mail.

The Richisons plan to frame the $7.7 million water bill and hang it in their house–perhaps over the kitchen sink.

Source: Chicago Tribune; Reuters

Photo 69303117 © Jirameth Potib | Dreamstime.com
Photo 1268412 | Sludge © Graham Prentice | Dreamstime.com