However, that’s exactly what Elaine Rogers has been inadvertently doing due to an extraordinary bungle by a water firm.
It was only a chance conversation over the garden fence that uncovered a mess that even Southern Water has so far been unable to unravel.
Southern Water have mixed up the billing for neighbours Brian Yard and Elaine Rogers, of Bingham Road, Strood
Neighbours Elaine Rogers and fellow pensioner Brian Yard, who live in Bingham Road, Strood, were chatting about a new water meter the company had said it installed at Elaine’s house in March.
They both went into the back alley to find it, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Curiosity got the better of them, so they called out a water company inspector who also failed to uncover it.
His inquiries into Mrs Rogers’ account number revealed the 68-year-old grandmother had been paying Brian’s bill, and could have been doing so for nearly two years.
To add to the muddle, money has been going out of Brian’s bank account, although nobody can tell him whose bill he has been paying.
Retired printer Mr Yard said: “Confusion reigns. The right arm doesn’t seem to know what the left is doing.
"I’ve been told they have not been able to trace whose bill I’ve been paying. It could be anyone from as far away as Hampshire.”
Mrs Rogers added: “It begs the question: who’s been footing my bill?”
Mrs Rogers has now asked for a water meter to be fitted, but when the contractor arrived he could not access the alley and dropped a leaflet through her door which said: “Sorry we cannot fit a water meter.”
Mr Yard said: “Frankly if we had not had a casual conversation about Elaine’s meter a few weeks ago, none of this would have come to light.
"And if the Southern Water inspector had not checked her account, who knows how long Elaine would have been paying my bill.
Brian is none the wiser after Southern Water mixed up the neighbours' bills
“It makes me wonder how widespread these problems might be. I think we may well have opened a can of worms here.”
A spokesman for Southern Water said: “Each water meter installed has a serial number on it, which is assigned to a property number or house name.
“The meter serial number also appears on our customers’ bills. This ensures that the occupiers are billed for the water they use at the property.
“It makes me wonder how widespread these problems might be. I think we may well have opened a can of worms here” - Brian Yard
“However, we became aware that Mr Yard had not been paying for the water recorded on his meter as the wrong meter had been assigned to his home.
“We have corrected this and his meter is now correctly assigned to his property.
“With regards to Mrs Rogers, we have returned her to ‘rateable value’ billing until we can fit a meter and correctly assign it to her property.
“We now have a team on site checking the meter serial numbers ensuring they are correctly assigned to properties.
“We apologise for this error.”