Animal Clinic's Water Bill Skyrockets 2300 Percent

A D.C. animal hospital’s water usage was estimated for years, so when its meter actually was read, its bill jumped 2,300 percent.

For the past year, Capitol Hill Animal Clinic’s monthly DC Water bill has been about $100, Dr. Daniel Murphy said.

But April’s bill was $2,400, Murphy said.

Murphy said he learned his bills dating back to 2013 were simply estimates and had underreported actual usage

“This is the current reading, and this is what you owe,” Murphy said. “You can pay your bill off in specific payments over three periods.”

Shocked that customer service was insisting the amount was correct, Murphy contacted NBC4 Responds, which has investigated similar problems in the past.

The animal clinic's big bill was related to an issue NBC4 Responds first reported last month.


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DC Water launched a massive effort to replace all residential meters throughout the District.

“We're going to do more than 85,000 meters,” DC Water spokesman Vince Morris said. “All of our customers are getting brand new meters, the latest technology, and they're replacing meters that are in most cases more than 10 years old.”

A day after NBC4 Responds called DC Water, Murphy was credited his entire bill.

The cost of the mix-up could have been devastating for the clinic.

“It would have been a tough month or two,” Murphy said. “Some people might not have gotten paid.”

DC Water said customers should reach out to them anytime they have billing concerns. They said in almost every single case they’re able to resolve the issue over the phone.

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