Austin utility customers who discovered errors on utility bills between the months of August and September related to incorrect meter readings can expect credits on bills around mid-March.
More than 7,000 Austin utility customers were affected by the misreads, which showed abnormally low figures in August and abnormally high reads in September. All together, the total for the two months was higher than if the rates had been spread evenly over the two-month period, according to a city investigation. Credits range from $20 to $80 in most cases.
It was not determined if the meter misreads were due to human error or technical difficulties, but the meter reads happened when the city was transitioning from Corix Utilities to Bermex. The city investigation showed that the misreads were situated around 135 out of 1,080 routes. The credits will cost the city around $138,000.
Meter readers will now be required to take photographs of each meter read after a history of errors in utility billing.
“We should have found this faster and we should have found it ourselves. We should have had better safeguards against unreasonable water meter reads,” said Jackie Sargent, general manager of Austin Energy.
“We apologize to those affected by this anomaly and we hold ourselves accountable for improving our processes so that they do not recur. Customers must have confidence that their utility bills are measured and billed accurately.”
If you have unusually high utility bills, it is smart practice to double-check your utility bill. More often than not, though, rising utility bills are not due to a billing error. There are several things you can do to assure that you are getting the best value for your money and not wasting water.
Check for leaks around the home, learn more about water conservation, and practice water-saving practices. You can learn more about conserving water at Austin Water, as well has how to claim your credits if you were one of those Austin residents affected by meter-reading anomalies.
Smart Earth Sprinklers helps with your water conservation and irrigation system needs. For a quote, contact us at (512) 694 -1147 today.