Deltona woman suspects theft after receiving $870 water bill

Woman was out of town when someone used 91,000 gallons at her expense

DELTONA, Fla. – A Deltona woman said she wasn't even in the country when she got a $870.93 bill for using 91,000 gallons of water in one month, but she still had to pay for it.

"When I seen the bill, it was like, this can't be real," Bonnie Panasenko-Marryatt said.

Panasenko-Marryatt said the bill should have only been $11 per month while she was out of town.

"I put $200 on the account to cover myself," she said.

The homeowner said she wasn't home from June until December, so she could spend time with her sick husband in Canada.

"He was a fisherman, but he had lung disease and he passed away," she said.

Panasenko-Marryatt returned home to find her water shut off and an expensive bill that she said the Deltona Water Department wanted her to pay.

"They have no reason where this water went. They can't give you a reason for it, except to say you used it," she said.

A city worker checked her meter and told Panasenko-Marryatt it was fine. If it's not the water department's error, she believes it must be theft.

"Somebody came into my yard and took my water, I believe." she said.

Panasenko-Marryatt said the water department made her a deal by having her pay $279.08 and the water hookup fee.

"I don't have the funds for it. I'm trying to make a go of it but it's been a hardship on me," she said.

Panasenko-Marryatt struggled but managed to finally pay off the bill, but believes she shouldn't have had to pay for what she didn't use.

"I just want fairness in this system. Be fair to me," she said.

A spokesperson from the Deltona Water Department said there was a $591.85 adjustment credit provided to the homeowner. Panasenko-Marryatt was left to pay the difference of $279.08.

The water department re-read the meter and found no leak or change in reading. However, it's still unclear why the bill was so high.

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.