CLEVELAND -- Cleveland's Division of Water is more than halfway through installing new automated meters.

More than 220,000 of 420,000 customers have them. The rest should have them by the end of this year.

In response to a Facebook inquiry, a batch of users told Channel 3 News that their water bills went up significantly after the new meters were installed.

Twinsburg's Brian Bunker rents out a condominium and saw the bill go from $150 to $180 a quarter to $575. The bill showed a big spike in usage.

The department told him it had to be because of a leak. But he had recently checked and/or changed all all the plumbing and fixtures.

The department claims it's not had many complaints of exorbitant water bill jumps. About 900 meters a day are being installed.

But it says some customers could see some increase in bills because old, inaccurate meters are being replaced.

'The new system will greatly reduce estimated bills. The goal is to make sure customers are using what they are paying for and paying for what they are using.

It turns out that, after Channel 3 inquired, there was a problem traceable to the meter switch that caused Brian's bill to soar.

A worker had entered a wrong number from the old meter that carried over into the billing and caused the whopping increase.

It will be reduced.

The department is attempting to address issues related to the new meters. It says somehow Brian's case "fell through the cracks," even after he called to complain.

Users with billing issues should call 216-664-3130.

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