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Hinckley man threatened by water shutoff after going without a bill for years

Posted at 8:28 PM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 20:28:54-04

Not paying a water bill for decades sounds too good to be true but it was a reality for several in Medina County until receiving a shut-off notice.  

Jim McClintock woke up with a notice on his property allegedly from Cleveland Water, stating his water would be shut off if he didn't pay up. 

The door hanger with a shut-off date of Sept. 22 reads:

"Water service will be shut off as a result of not scheduling your water meter inspection and repair appointment."

McClintock has lived in the same Hinckley home for 60 years. In 2002, he switched to Cleveland Water.

“They came out and installed the water line into the house, and they gave me the information as to how to set up the plumbing so there was a place to put the water meter," he said. 

After nearly fifteen years, McClintock said he has never received a bill, nor does he have a meter.

"I have never had a water bill, and I’ve never had a water meter because they have never installed a water meter," McClintock said. "Now they want to shut my water off?”

An employee with Cleveland Water told News 5 Hinckley is not in its service area. Later in the day, the story changed.

Mike Cummings lives next to McClintock and has a similar story. He’s never paid for a water bill, but he paid for a meter.

He showed News 5 the receipt where he paid $300 for a meter in 2003 that was never installed, and he too has never received a bill. 

“No meter came in. We waited like two months. We kept calling, and we never got a response back. After a year or so, we kind of gave up," Cummings said. 

While he did not get a shut-off notice, he's afraid he’ll be next.

For now, the two men just want answers, and hope they don’t owe thousands for water bills they claim they never received.

Cleveland Water issued the following statement:

When a developer or community installs a new water main, they typically install the cityside service connections as well in order to reduce the need to cut open the street a second time and control costs. Having cityside service connections available allows homes and business to access the Cleveland Water system as they complete construction on private property. In order to complete these connections, customers submit an application for new service and pay the required fees, allowing Cleveland Water to create an account and begin billing. In this instance, the application process was not completed when originally submitted in 2003, and the property was identified through our regular field investigation of cityside service connections. Post Customer Service Turnaround Project, we have implemented improved processes to reduce the likelihood of this occurring in the future. We will work with the customer to ensure the issue is resolved as quickly as possible without disconnecting the service.