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Former state delegate questions $600 water bill for vacant home

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Viola Baskerville contacted CBS 6 Problem Solvers and City Hall after she received high water bills for a home where she had not lived for nearly a year.

"I saw a $600 bill, then I saw a $100 bill, then one for $500, and finally one for $157," Baskerville, a former Virginia State Delegate and Richmond City Councilwoman,

Baskerville was concerned over the number of increasing water bills she received from the city and demanded answers.

"Was there something wrong with the meter? Were there things wrong in the house? Was somebody stealing water?" Baskerville wanted to know.

The city launched a high water bill investigation in an attempt to figure out what was happening.

When a utility crew went to check Baskerville’s meter, workers discovered the meter of the vacant house was still spinning.

They replaced that meter with a new one.

A worker also spotted a few water leaks, but Baskerville said she felt that it didn’t warrant a $600 bill.

Richmond Public Utilities spokesperson Angela Fountain explained she could not talk specifics about any customer's bill, but said customers should keep a close eye on their bills, meters, and water usage.

"We have more than 100,000 customers, so there’s no way we can monitor customers’ accounts and that’s why we ask them to stay as vigilant as possible," Fountain said.

She added customers who believe there are bill discrepancies could contact them.

Customers with questions about their water bills can bring questions to City Hall, email the Public Utilities Department or call them at 804-646-7000.

If there turns out to be an error on the city's side, Fountain said the city would adjust the bill and give a credit or refund.

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