Exmouth dad’s �29,000 water bill!
An Exmouth dad is suffering sleepless nights after being hit with a �29,000 water bill - the equivalent of running 22 baths every day.
Unemployed Jason Mingo, 35, of Normandy Close, said he almost fainted when South West Water’s bill dropped through his door.
The council tenant, who has a water meter, says he cannot pay the bill - and fears he will end up in prison for refusing to pay.
Mr Mingo said his concern increased last week when a court summons for nearly �30,000 arrived.
SWW blamed a water leak at the property for the �29,000 bill – saying the responsibility lay with Mr Mingo, claiming he ignored the problem.
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Mr Mingo, who lives alone at the property, said he had been unaware of any leak until the district council carried out external repairs to pipes - hidden beneath wooden decking.
Mr Mingo, whose normal quarterly bill is �59, said: “I am worried about being sent to prison. I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about it.
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“I have been to the doctor and I am taking sleeping tablets.
“I try to forget about it, but it’s always at the back of my mind.”
Mr Mingo said the only time he shared the property was when his 12-year-old daughter, Holly Mingo, an Exmouth Community College student, visited at weekends.
He said he switched on his washing machine twice a week and used the equivalent of three full sinks of water for washing up.
Mr Mingo takes two baths a week and uses water for daily washing purposes and flushing the toilet.
He said: “I have spoken to South West Water. They say nothing and keep sending me letters.
“I have told them it’s ridiculous. Their response is that, because the leak was not reported, I am liable. But how was I supposed to know I had a leak outside?
“They came and checked, but couldn’t see any leak. The council dug up and found a leak outside. The next thing I knew, I got a water bill for �29,888. I nearly fainted. I thought they were having a laugh.
“Then I got the letter through, saying it was because of a leak - and saying it was my responsibility.”
A spokeswoman for SWW said: “We have attempted to contact the customer on a number of occasions to address the impact of this leak on their metered water bills, but have had no reply.
“Arrangements are being made to visit the customer to discuss the situation in person.
“We are happy to assist the customer with completing the necessary forms to claim a leak allowance, if appropriate.”