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450 affected by city billing glitch

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Natural gas charges too high

By The Staff

A software glitch in the city’s new automated meter reading system resulted in incorrect bills for about 450 of the city’s natural gas customers.

The city disclosed the problem in a news release issued Thursday evening.

The 450 customers affected were overbilled four their natural gas usage in May.

“The software error has been corrected and the system is now reading correctly,” the city’s news release states. “The May bill was higher than normal, but the error will be corrected in the June bill that is scheduled to be sent out the first week of June.”

City officials said that affected customers will not be charged late fees or penalties.

According to the city, meter readers manually verified readings on May 17.

While 450 customers were affected, five of them had errors that were so egregious that their accounts were credited immediately. The city Utilities Department telephoned each of those customers to explain what had happened.

The city began transitioning to automated gas meters in January. With the old meters, city utilities staff would have to manually read every meter in the city. With the new Automated Meter Reading System, city utilities workers just have to drive by the meters to collect usage data.

A software glitch resulted in the automated system transmitting higher meter readings.

According to the city, customers can tell if they were affected by looking at the first four numbers of the account on their city bill. Customers can tell if they were affected by looking at the first four numbers of the account number on the bill. Affected customers have accounts beginning with the numbers 16, 17, 18 or 19.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and we hope to complete the installation process as soon as possible,” the city release states. “in the long run, the system will far exceed expectations on meter read accuracy.”

Anyone needing more information is asked to contact Consuelo Lopez in the city utilities billing section at 426-3311.