Chesterton Tribune



Some water company customers may not have received bill for last period

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If you’re one of the 50 to 200 customers of the Chesterton Utility whose last sewer bill, mailed July 22, seemed light--because the Utility didnt receive your consumption figure from Indiana-American Water Company (IAWC)--then you also almost certainly didn’t receive any bill at all from IAWC.

IAWC spokesman Joe Loughmiller told the Chesterton Tribune on Wednesday that the water company is still “working through” bugs in a new software platform, which “if for some reason can’t validate a customer’s water usage ends up kicking it out of the system.”

The problem is called a “no-read” and it’s making trouble for the Chesterton Utility, which calculates customers’ sewer bills based on their water consumption. The assumption is that all water flowed from taps and showerheads, flushed in toilets, and used by washing machines ends up at the wastewater treatment plant.

But if IAWC submits to the Utility a no-read for a given customer, the Utility can’t calculate that customer’s bill and can only charge the fixed base rate of $23.46.

“The new software platform handles things that interface with customers, including municipalities,” Loughmiller said. “Any time you put in a new system, there will be issues, data not carrying through. It’s brand new and now things are working in a different way. We’re talking to municipalities, trying to work through it.”

The Town of Chesterton is not the only municipality with water-company issues, Loughmiller added, and for that reason a weekly conference call has been scheduled on Wednesdays to give community reps the chance to ask questions and trouble-shoot problems.

“Certainly we’ve made progress,” Loughmiller said. “We’ve come a long way over the last few weeks since we put the system in place.”

Here’s the thing, though. If you’re one of those customers who not only didn’t get properly billed by the Chesterton Utility in the last period but also never received the previous water bill, you’re staring down the double barrels of two pretty hefty reconciliation bills sometime in the future.

“You can always pay what you normally pay,” Loughmiller said. “If you overpay, it will get credited to your account.”

Meanwhile, Chesterton Utility Superintendent Terry Atherton is urging customers to check their previous sewer bill. If it seems light, a good idea would similarly be to make an estimated payment to the Utility, to keep the future reconciliation bill manageable.

Or you can contact IAWC’s call center at (800) 492-8373 to make a payment.

If for some reason you’re not reading this and not staying current on which bills you’ve received and which you haven’t, and weeks or months from now you do receive a big reconciliation bill, Loughmiller said that IAWC will be open to making payment arrangements.



Posted 8/29/2013