On Your Side: How to spot a faulty utility meter

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield’s City Utilities discovered faulty meters and customers are stuck with the bill.

In one case, a single parent must pay a $900 bill. Alison Haveman had a dead meter and owes $947.22.

“I just feel like they are trying to put part of the blame on me,” said Haveman. “And I did what I was supposed to do by paying my bill every month. Why weren’t they doing their job by making sure their equipment worked?” she asked.

“You’ve used that service,” said Joel Alexander with City Utilities. “You’ve used that commodity. You can’t go back and put that back in the ground or in the pipes,” he said.

According to the Service Rules and Regulations policy under Billing Corrections: The customer shall pay the actual correct figure.

These customers were paying a base amount. The paperwork shows the gas amount did not change over time, even in the winter. Consider that a red flag. Now, they owe the adjusted amount.

CU workers say it takes a while to find the bad ones. The policy removes six of the eighteen months of charges. Haveman must pay hundreds.

“I’m stuck. I got to pay it and I don’t know what else to do,” she said.

CU workers are installing new automated meters that send readings straight to CU. All should be running by next summer.

“We have been underway with it for several years but the completion date is coming up pretty soon. All those will be on an automated system. That’s not to say we won’t have to go out and do reads, we’ll do that. But it’s going to expedite the process and make those bills and issues like this resolve much quicker,” Alexander said.

Read your bill every month. While autopay and paperless billing are convenient, it might also mean you’re not reviewing your usage. If you think your statement is too high, call the company.

You can also file complaints with the Public Service Commission and tell your state rep. CU, like most power companies, offers payment plans. There are non-profits that help customers pay their bills.

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