Warren County Utility District began its meeting on Tuesday by addressing a billing issue from customer Hale and Hines Nursery. Three Warren County Utility District employees were involved in the mistake.
According to Utility District general manager Mike Green, a meter was read on Dec. 4 at 377,300 gallons of water, which is a $2,087.99 water bill when the month before had read only 33,300 gallons.
“Mr. Hines wanted a leak adjustment so we took off $849.11,” said Green to the utility board. “Now when that meter was read, the computer drive by system alerts the driver, to let them know that the reading is high. They said they did not notice any beeping so they did not tag a door, did not go to the office and tell anybody anything about the reading.”
Green went on to explain that two different employees were sent out to read the nursery’s meters. On Dec. 11, the reading was 17,790, which was another $1,377 since Dec. 4.
“The employee that checked it on Dec. 11 said no leak found, but it was still leaking and he didn’t contact the office,” said Green to the board. “Mr. Hines found the leak and said he had poured some concrete and left a valve open running through the line. The new bill was $2,732.50, if we give them an adjustment we will be adjusting $2,540.50.”
“So they are wanting not just half of it adjusted?” asked utility board member Glen Mitchell.
“If our guys would have tagged the door the first time, it wouldn’t have been as high,” answered Green. “So the first mistake, reading – didn’t tag the doors. Second mistake, our guy went out and didn’t alert them.”
To correct the issue, Green said Warren County Utility District employees are going to start reading all the meters and going through the reports to find anything over 400 percent. That way, they can contact customers and tag the doors.
Additionally, the employees involved received a written warning for their costly mistakes.
Added Green, “Whether or not Mr. Hines left a valve on, we made two major mistakes. I personally think we adjust it down to what it normally is and do a better job.”
The utility board voted in favor of Green’s recommendation of a $2,540.50 adjustment before discussing other topics.