On Your Side: Hundreds of CU customers expected to get dead meter bills

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:26 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Check your mail. More than 500 City Utilities customers will get, what’s probably, an unexpected bill.

Dead meters are to blame. Per policy, customers are stuck with the bill. The average bill is $900. Customers still got the energy, but their gas or water meter showed zero usage.

You might recall our On Your Side stories from viewers who showed us their bills from dead, faulty or stopped meters. Keep in mind, CU offers power and water.

“Customer bills and budgets are crucial for us to do this right,” said Brent Baker, VP Chief Customer Officer with City Utilities. “Accuracy is important. How we address that, is we have to do this fairly for all customers.”

Workers found 389 dead gas meters and 120 dead water meters. The average bill for these customers is $900 dollars. Bills range from $3 to $2,000. These bills are estimated usage based on history. Customers won’t have to start paying until March. They’ll have 24 months to pay up.

“The specifics of each situation will be evaluated. Not sure what each one will entail, but there are ways to extend that or look at fees that may be able to be waived,” said Baker. “We are putting more in place to work with customers when they have this and to give our coworkers the opportunity to give more flexible arrangements to know where those assistance dollars are. Give us a call. Let us help as much as we possibly can.”

CLICK HERE to learn how to spot a dead utility meter

Basically, there’s no such thing as free energy. Still, board members talked about bill forgiveness at their annual meeting.

“If it’s our fault, I would be inclined to ask city council to waive the collection on the accounts,” said Clif Smart at the CU board meeting. “It’s not significant money. No one is really going to have to pay for it. We have plenty of reserves. We got millions in reserves to cover what’s a very small amount. I would be inclined to say this is on us.”

“It’s not an option. It’s not a part of the current rules and regulations that our board and city council approved,” said Baker.

CU leaders call these mechanical issues that impact less than one percent of customers. This happens all over country.

“Across the country, most utilities follow what is our new policy in 2019. We have actually lined up more with the rest of the country,” said Baker.

Also per policy, customers can only be billed for up to 12 months for a dead meter. The dead meters were fixed. There’s not a specific area or cluster where this happened. It’s across the coverage area.

Customers can look at their bill right now and see if there’s a problem. If it reads, ‘no usage’ that’s a red flag.

For renters, CU workers say you’ll only owe for your time there.

CU is trying to collect about $400,000.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com