You know it has been about 4 years since the zero read water meter revelations. The remote read meter system that the city had bought into was part of that problem, now 4 years thousands of meter, transducer and transmitter replacements and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, the system does not live up to the advertised ability to catch and alert operators and customers to an excessive use or constant run. This feature was touted to save precious water resources, and stop the madness of these tragic bills, unless someone is really filling a swimming pool.
On the customer service side our council does not get it. The consumer was promised efficiency in reduced cost of reading meters that have not been realized. The consumer was promised protection from runaway leaks with a timely heads up form the utility department. Both have failed and we get hollow lip service from our managers past and present. It is time to either admit it does not work and we wasted maybe in the millions, certainly in the hundreds of thousands OR make it work!
The Council nor the city administrators do not seem to grasp dealing with the Customers, that are the citizen owners of the utility business. In 32 years of retail I have never back charged for and error! In fact when bar code scanners were introduced a policy of if it scans wrong it is free was in place. I can tell you 99 out of a hundred times a customer will not tell you they were undercharged, but you will find out quickly if something is over the shelf price.
So from my stand point we the citizen owner customers were sold an expensive system that would save money and PROTECT us from runaway leaks and meter errors. The system does not work and the utility company that in fact we own will not make good the promise of protection from these extraordinary water bills, by relieving the customers charges.
Pricing errors and mistakes are a cost of doing business, the cost belongs to the retailer, and yes it is figured into the overall price that everyone shares. It is not unfair to forgive a balance that was in error because all customers enjoy the same protection benefit.