Hanley mum's shock at £5,500 water bill
SINGLE mother-of-four Sabina Riaz fears her young family could be left destitute after receiving a water bill for nearly £5,500.
The 35-year-old, of Poundlock Avenue, Hanley, believes there is no way she could have racked up the charges as she usually only pays around £700 a year.
She has called in her supplier Severn Trent Water to investigate why her water use has apparently rocked.
And she says if the matter is not resolved she could struggle to make ends meet.
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The mental health nurse, who received the £5,408 bill yesterday morning, said: "I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
"I usually spend around £700 a year on water so there is no way that we could have racked this much up.
"I phoned Severn Trent straight away. I can't afford to pay this bill and I don't believe we have spent this much on water."
Sabina is convinced there is a fault on her meter.
She claims a representative from Severn Trent came out to check the meter in February and was told it was faulty but she never heard anything back.
She said: "The workman told me it wasn't working because even when he turned the water supply off it was still ticking over.
"But after I received the bill I was told by a customer service adviser that the meters cannot overestimate the amount of water you use. So they think I must have a leak. But surely I would notice a leak of that size."
The bill covers Sabina's water supply from March last year to August.
It states she spent £1,476 in 33 days between February 28 and April 1.
She said: "I am a single mother who works long hours and am out of the house for long periods of time.
"I don't know how they expect me to meet these costs because they are absolutely ridiculous."
Sabina bought the new-build house in March last year and has never had problems with the water supply before.
She lives with her children Ania Hanif, aged 13, Zahra Hanif, aged 12, Kashif Hanif, aged 10 and Malaki Gordon, aged one.
She has already contacted her local MP Tristram Hunt, pictured below, for advice.
Sabina said: "I don't need this kind of debt to my name when I know it is not my fault."
A Severn Trent spokesman said: "Water meters are one of the fairest ways of paying for water as they ensure that you only pay for the water used.
"Severn Trent check water flows and water usage of customers and if there is an unexpected change we inform them, suggest tests they can do, carry out our own tests to see if the problem could be a leak on either our network or within the pipes.
"Where the problem is within the customer's property we advise them to have their pipe work looked at and deal with any internal leaks. This prevents higher than expected bills and paying for water they have not used."