Snohomish Co. PUD billing fix to cost $18M


There’s now a timeline for when problems with the Snohomish County’s utility’s billing system will be fixed and it’s going to cost more than first thought.

KIRO 7’s Jesse Jones has been pushing for a fix since customers starting complaining last year about what they said were unfair billing practices.

At public meetings in April, customers came out to complain that their bills doubled or tripled after changes to the PUD’s billing system.

The meters were only read every other month and customers were charged on estimated usage.

The plan now is to have additional workers brought in to read every customer’s meter each month to make sure they are accurate.

>>For more information, visit the Snohomish County PUD website.

“Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, if we had known how significant it would have been to customers that are troubled by estimated bills, we might have made a different decision,” said Jim West with Snohomish County PUD.

Originally, it was estimated fixing the problem would cost $3.5 million dollars a year, for the next three years. On Thursday, we learned it will cost $18 million to have it fixed by October, according to the Everett Herald.

(CORRECTION: The story originally incorrectly said it was estimated that the fix would cost a half a million dollars ($500,000) a year for the next three years. The correct figure is $3.5 million dollars a year for the next three years).

The money will come from the utility’s reserve and will not raise customers’ rates.

About 40 meter readers will be hired to help carry out the new bill checking system and there’s going to be a lot of training and testing before the system goes live.

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