Wednesday, September 26, 2018

City Owes Citizens Conservation Credits from 2009-2018

 A City of San Angelo news release stated:

The Water Utilities Department is seeking to refund $284,138 to 25,031 water customers who did not receive conservation discounts they have earned since 2009.  City officials unearthed an error in a handwritte, 48 page computer code that a former City employee created in 2006 to determine who receives the discount. 
It's not clear why refunds don't apply to bills after the computer code was implemented in 2006.  The City's website describes the credit:

A conservation credit applies to customers who use less than 3,000 gallons in a month. Ten percent of the base rate and usage fees credit the customer’s account in the following month.
This is the latest decade long billing error by Public Utilities.  It follows the city's overcharging commercial trash customers.  Executive Director of Public Works Ricky Dickson was aware of Republic's overcharging commercial customers in August 2011. 

City leaders promised a rigorous response to that overbilling, including auditing utility bills for compliance with local ordinances.  That did not happen.  The city's practice of ignoring compliance with city laws went beyond public utility billing. 

Ten year over-billing of water customers is hardly a "mishap."  It's the latest sign that the City of San Angelo is lackadaisical about complying with local ordinances.  The city charges citizens late fees for paying their water bills.  Council should implement an incompetent billing refund bonus for effected citizens in recognition of the time value of money.

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