OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A list of East Bay water customers showing excessive water use – used by the water district to call attention to those who surpass usage limits – shows inaccurate figures for some customers, according to a published report.

The Contra Costa Times found that in some cases, customers who made the excessive usage list were not using nearly as much water as the list indicated.

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The East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) has said it fines customers who use more than 1,000 gallons a day. However, the 1,000-gallon threshold is determined by averaging out the number of actual gallons used in a billing cycle, which normally varies from 55-68 day. Moreover, some customers who made the excessive use list did so because more than one billing cycle was used in the calculations.

EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa said in a statement:

“While the list of excessive use violations is correct, it is missing a column of data that would help you draw the correct conclusions about a customer’s daily water use average or who the top users are. What is missing is each customer’s billing cycle length.

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… Sometimes when there is an obstruction blocking a meter, estimated reads are made, estimated bills are sent, then a revised bill is sent one, two or more billing cycles later once the meter is read. This could lengthen a billing cycle to 110 or more days. On any given day, we may have about 800 customers who have received an estimated bill.

… In most situations, you can approximate gallons per day and estimate who the top users are by assuming a 60-day billing cycle. But when a customer receives a bill with a significantly longer billing cycle – typical of those who receive a revised bill – the formula for gallons per day is no longer accurate.

Figueroa said that going forward, EBMUD would include the billing cycle length for those on the excessive use violation list and update past lists.

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Among those previously listed on EBMUD’s water waster list are San Francisco Giants star player Buster Posey and former Safeway CEO Steven Burd.