NORTHRIDGE — Instead of Velma Mathews’ front lawn being dry and brittle, it should be lush and green considering how much water the LADWP says she has used.

“The front lawn is dead, the back yard is dead, my trees are dying,” she said. “Where is all this water?”

In July, Mathews got a bill for almost $13,000. At age 74 and living by herself, she says a bill like that is impossible.

“I got a magnifying glass because when you’re older you need glasses and I thought well maybe I’m reading it wrong,” Matthews said.

When she called the LADWP she says they told her it could be a mistake or that she may have a leak, so she never paid it. Then came a second bill for almost $17,000. She says her blood pressure skyrocketed.

At one point she was told her utilities would be shut off.

Matthews says she has lived at the home for over 30 years and always pays her bills on time. Normally the run about $600 a month.

CBSLA contacted the LADWP. They admitted there was a mistake.

“This bill was not properly followed up on… procedures were not followed as they should have been. We have reached out… to express our sincere apology… and will investigate,” they said in a statement.

Matthews was told her power will not be shut off, but says she was never told she isn’t responsible for the bill. She says until she hears that she doesn’t have to pay it, she’ll continue to lose sleep.

“I’m just feeling overwhelmed, like how in the world am I going to pay a huge bill like this.”


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