When a mistake resulted in a high water bill, a Houston woman didn’t have money for her medication, so she turned to Ted

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Lillian Lang has lived in her home in south Houston since 1977 and said she was the one who paid the water bill every month for the last few decades.

“It was always on my behalf,” Lang said. “It (usually) costs between $27 and $28.”

Lang said she only realized there were problems with her bills in January, when she received a letter from the city of Houston telling her they had undercharged her.

She was shocked to receive a bill that was almost seven times the usual amount.

“I didn’t know until they sent me the huge bill, $219,” Lang told ABC13’s Ted Oberg. “I told them I have a steady income. I am a senior citizen. I can not afford that.

But even with the payment arrangement, Lang said she owes an additional $46 immediately and an extra $23 for months thereafter. That meant she had to cut some of her other expenses, and in this case, Lang said, it meant she didn’t get her Parkinson’s medication.

“I gave up medication that I normally have to pay to make the extra payments to the water company because I didn’t want to lose my water,” Lang said. “In fact, I fell because I was so disoriented. The drug is for Parkinson’s and it keeps me functioning and if I don’t take it I have a lot of trouble.”

Lang was frustrated by the above-average water bill. She didn’t think she would have to pay for the city’s mistake and needed help, so she turned to Ted.

“I reached out to everyone hoping someone would help,” Lang said. “They were the only ones who answered.”

When our team asked the City of Houston Water Department to take a second look, they did so and canceled the subbill charges. Now she has credit for what she has already paid for.

“It’s not my fault. It’s her fault,” Lang said. “Think of the person who lives in the home. What are their conditions? What can they afford? If it’s your fault, take responsibility for it.”
In this case, the city did, and that doesn’t happen often.

Lang said she now has her medication and will not have to make that sacrifice again to keep the water flowing.

“You have no way of knowing how relieved I am and exactly how much this means to me. I can now buy medicines that I had put off,” Lang said. “Since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I’ve had a really difficult time physically. That this stress is gone is a godsend.”

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Our Turn to Ted team often gets emails from viewers about water bill issues, but we rarely see results like Lillian Lang’s case. We may not be able to help you with your situation, but please feel free to contact us with your concerns or other tips using the form below. (On mobile? You can open our form by tapping here.)

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. When a mistake resulted in a high water bill, a Houston woman didn’t have money for her medication, so she turned to Ted

Dais Johnston

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