Some customers that experienced the recent utility billing issues face a tough task in paying the increased August bill.
The City of Ottawa utility billing department experienced two issues with the recording of electric readings on a approximately 152 of its 6,000 electric customers in July, city officials said.
Ottawa finance director, Scott Bird, said the city regrets that the billing issued happened and can assure those affected that the city is willing to work with them on paying the bill.
“They can contact us here at city hall,” Bird said. “We strive very diligently to make sure everything is correct when it goes out. There was a very small percentage of our customers that were actually affected by this issue. Nevertheless, until just recently we have had a hot summer so a lot of the bills are high. So it may appear that they were involved in this but it was a very small group. But we have always tried to work with our customers.”
The customers affected were billed for much lower amounts of electric usage than was actually consumed, resulting in under charged bills for those customers. While the following month’s readings were received and recorded correctly, the recorded usage was considerably higher due to the low amounts recorded in July. This caused these customers to have much higher than normal bills due to the undercharges in July. Bird said the last thing the city wants to do is shut off utilities. He added that the city observes a hot weather rule and a cold weather rule to help customers during months of high usage.
“If we are shutting utilities off, it’s all within the policies that we have,” he said. “There are times we have to do the right thing. But there will come a time when we expect payment to be made.”