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Udpated Friday, October 18, 2019
The City’s Finance Department has analyzed water usage from the bill dated September 27, 2019 during the past two weeks. This analysis included a review of customer accounts and confirmation that the new billing software accurately calculated the bills based upon the consumption information provided by meter readings. Additionally, the analysis compared usage from the prior billing cycle to determine if the usage was consistent. This review included approximately 4,000 customer accounts Citywide.
Staff identified accounts with high usage and provided further analysis to compare historical usage from similar cycles. This analysis review resulted in approximately 40 accounts that showed with higher than historical use. On these users, the City proactively performed meter rereads and leak checks, resulting in the discovery of a total of two leaks. This review process included verification of the meter read to ensure accuracy. If a leak was determined, customers were notified of the leak and provided information on the next steps to be taken. Also, approximately 50 additional customers requested meter rereads and leak checks, of which three leaks were discovered. All of the rereads that were performed verified consistent meter reads.
The City understands our residents’ concerns and has diligently analyzed the September 27, 2019 utility bills for accuracy.
The September 27th bill includes usage from July and August. Lower-than-average rainfall since July, record-breaking high temperatures and receding groundwater levels have resulted in a drought watch advisory across the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the Department of Environmental Quality. The City of Fredericksburg is currently within a ‘moderate drought’ area.
Should you have additional questions or feel you may have a leak please contact the Utility Billing Office at 540-372-1182.
Udpated Friday, October 11, 2019:
The City Finance and Public Works Departments are working hard to analyze instances of higher than normal water bills for the July & August 2019 billing cycle.
The City Finance Department has completed a review this week of all residential bills in the September 27th bill cycle and confirmed that the new billing software has calculated the bills correctly based upon the consumption information provided by meter readings.
In response to residents who have called, the City has also performed on-site “5-minute leak checks” for customers who have requested it, which includes re-reading their meters. These updated meter readings are then compared with the consumption from the prior cycle to identify if usage is consistent with their account history.
Additionally, the City is pro-actively analyzing accounts which appear to have higher than normal readings compared to historical usage for the same time period in previous years. For any account that is identified, the City is sending Public Works crews out to physically re-read meters and check for leaks. Residents may see City Public Works crews out in the community as we work to address our residents’ concerns. The City will post additional information by October 18th on our findings.
The City plans to continue to check meters and review account usage histories for any and all concerned residents who contact us. And we remind residents that confirming the meter readings and the billing calculations are an ongoing service that the City provides for our residents. If residents would like an individual review of their account, please contact Utility Billing at (540) 372-1182 and we will be glad to assist.
Posted Monday, October 7. 2019:
We have received numerous inquiries regarding the September 27th, 2019 utility bills. The majority of the concerns have been related to higher consumption of water.
This billing cycle covers the summer months which for many citizens historically results in higher usage amounts for reasons that include:
In addition, the City read water meters in the previous billing cycle earlier than normal due to the July 4th holiday. Therefore, this billing cycle does include a few additional days beyond the normal 60 day billing cycle.
Lastly, the approved rate increase was effective on July 1, 2019 and this is the first full billing cycle bill that includes the rate increase for both the base and usage rates.
Please contact the Utility Billing Office at 540-372-1182 if your current bill is higher than expected and you believe you have a leak. The Utility Billing office will be able to assist with further account analysis.