McNeill, Policy Committee explore laws to protect consumers, flag water leaks

Rep. McNeill’s bill would help protect consumers from nightmare bills

BETHLEHEM, April 2 – Looking to protect consumers and homeowners from costly bills and early notification of potential water line breaks, the House Majority Policy Committee and hearing host Rep. Jeanne McNeill examined Red Flag Water Usage at Lehigh Valley Health Network. 

“Pennsylvania’s housing stock is among the oldest in the nation, and while residents can responsibly plan for expected repairs, being blindsided by an unseen water leak and unusually high water bill can financial cripple a family and household,” said Rep. McNeill, who represents portions of the city of Bethlehem, Hanover Township, Whitehall Township, Catasauqua, Coplay and Fountain Hill. “Residents are often unaware of an issue until a bill – sometimes only mailed quarterly – arrives with hundreds or even thousands more owed than expected. When a water bill increases, so does the sewer bill, which creates an even larger financial issue.”

McNeill’s bill would require municipal authorities or public utility companies to provide notice to utility customers if a property’s water usage has increased by 50% in one month. McNeill’s H.B. 905 would help consumers avoid the nightmare scenario of receiving a mega bill, with payments due and financial penalties awaiting if payments are not made.

“Today we heard about the way consumers can be protected, especially if smart meters are installed and utility companies can flag an otherwise unseen and unknown leak that could otherwise result in a nightmare scenario for a homeowner,” Chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee Ryan Bizzarro said. “We also heard from the public water authority, which would prefer the use of advanced metering infrastructure, which places monitoring in the homeowner’s hands.”

Tuesday’s Policy hearing featured testimony from residents Mark Weber and Kelly Chevalier. The committee also heard from representatives from Lehigh County Authority and American Water.

Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at Photos to be used for publication can be found at