AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin officials say two former water meter readers fabricated readings last summer, causing thousands of residents' water bills to spike in September.

The Austin Water Utility had long denied that meter readers could have falsified the inaccurate meter readings that led to overbilling.

Kerry Overton is the deputy general manager of Austin Energy, which handles billing for water and electric utilities. Overton tells the Austin American-Statesman that what the former employees entered as meter reads couldn't have happened during the time frame.

The faulty readings underestimated August water use in some neighborhoods, leading to September overcharges. Austin Energy has refunded more than 7,000 residents.

City officials say they plan to take legal action against Corix, the former contractor for meter reading.

Corix representatives didn't respond for comment as of Tuesday.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman,