What started as a trickle of billing complaints surged into a flash flood of allegations raised about the city of San Diego’s Water Department. NBC 7 Responds' investigation into billing errors led to the discovery of faulty water meters and a lack of transparency over the city's multi-million-dollar smart meter program. Some of the team’s findings have led to the department taking corrective action. "Flood of Distrust" will give you an inside look at the investigative journey from start to finish.
Part One – Trust In: Water Bills
This story began in 2017 as customers across the city of San Diego began to question unexplainable high water bills. Those customers said the San Diego’s Public Utilities Department put the blame on them, but something didn’t seem right. That’s when NBC 7 Responds’ investigation began.
Part Two – Trust In: Water Meters
A customer’s water meter is the link between the utility and their home. When customers started questioning the accuracy of their water meter, NBC 7 Responds put the meters, and the city, to the test.
Part Three – Trust In: Smart Meter Program
Six years ago, the Public Utilities Department committed to replace every water meter in the city with new, wireless smart meters. But where are things now? NBC 7 Responds looks into the program’s costs and how it will impact customers moving forward.
Part Four – Winning Back Customer Trust
After a year of internal investigations and audits, what can the city do to gain back the trust of San Diego’s ratepayers? NBC 7 Responds looks at customer service and what needs to change in the future.