Sanremo, 88-year-old Caterina Giovinazzo from Gioia Tauro dies after receiving a bill for 15 thousand euros

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By John

She was born in Gioia Tauro 88 years ago Caterina Giovinazzo, the elderly woman who died on Christmas night in Sanremo hospital, in Liguria, where she was hospitalized after learning that she would have to pay over 15 thousand euros for a water bill. Money that, in the end, it turned out was not owed. Needless to say, the elderly woman’s three children, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, brothers and sisters are asking for clarity. News that has shocked Caterina’s family, who for the moment do not seem willing to take legal action: “We are not even angry – they explain – we are too sick, the pain prevails over everything else”. Many, however, in the hours following her death linked the illness due to the news of the monstrous amount to be paid to Iren, her supplier for the water network, and her death.

The sad story

It all began three weeks ago when the daughter-in-law read to Caterina Giovinazzo (who lived in Camporosso, in the Imperia area) the amount of the last water bill, half of which was paid automatically by the bank where the old woman had kept the bills. She should have paid Iren 15,339 euros. An error, evidently, so much so that the company took action by claiming that what was requested of the elderly invalid was not due due to a mere mistake. But the fact that the old woman’s bank had also paid an initial amount of around half (an operation that was later cancelled) was truly a blow to her heart. And they tell how Caterina felt bad immediately after her daughter-in-law read her the details of the bill, which arrived at the bank on November 14, and paid a few days later. She was so sick that an ambulance was rushed to her and transferred to the Sanremo hospital in code red. The doctors said it immediately: Caterina was in critical condition. Two of the woman’s sons, Luigi and Gianni Trapani, and her brother, Rocco Giovinazzo wanted to go all the way. And while Caterina was in hospital they looked at the old bills and found confirmation that the maximum water consumption in the old woman’s house was a few cubic meters for which a maximum of 65 euros had been paid. The disputed bill instead indicated that the elderly woman had consumed over 4,182 cubic meters of water between 21 February and 31 October. «An incorrect meter reading», according to the supplier, calculated on the basis of an incorrect photo-reading. And who knows if Caterina had time to find out. Mayor Davide Gibelli is the spokesperson for the Camporosso community. «We are all very sorry for Caterina’s death – declared the mayor -. The Giovinazzo family is very large and has been an integral part of our small community for many years. Like many Calabrian families, they also arrived in our country during the migrations of the 1960s. I know the children personally, they are good people who fit perfectly into our community. When the lady passed away I was abroad, but as soon as I returned I went to visit one of her sons.” Gibelli underlined the Giovinazzos’ connection with Camporosso: «It is the largest family of Calabrian origin in the town. The Calabrian tradition remains. Mrs. Caterina was well-liked in the town, her ties with Calabria had never been severed. After many years she maintained a strong Calabrian accent. “What happened, Assoutenti writes,” is a very serious warning to all the companies that manage water services who often fail to comply with meter reading checks. We are against the theory of the killer algorithm and we believe it is right to remove bill anomalies from artificial intelligence.” «For everyone – writes the senator and national coordinator of Italia Viva Raffaella Paita – there should be a warning about how inhospitable and hostile a world made up of call centers and impersonal relationships can be for the weakest elderly people – she concluded -. We will present a question to the Senate to clarify the matter.”