Chesterton Tribune



Utility fields questions and complaints about new bills

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The newly formatted letter-size Chesterton Utility bills appear to have caused no little disconcertment among ratepayers.

Utility Superintendent Terry Atherton is reporting an “abundance” of complaints and questions about the revamped billing statements, which folks received last month.

In the first two days after they were mailed, more than 500 people called the Utility, seeking explanations, clarifications, or reassurance, Atherton told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Three issues predominated, two of them linguistic:

*Boilerplate language in the new statement refers to a “previous balance,” leading some to believe that the Utility didn’t receive their last payment.

*It also refers to an “adjustment,” a muddier of the waters which Atherton said will be re-worded.

*Finally, the new statement does not accommodate the printing of a ratepayer’s history as recorded under the old billing system. Atherton emphasized that this peculiarity of the new statement does not mean that folks no longer have a history. They do. And the summer rate scheme--under which folks pay the lesser of two amounts, for their actual usage during the two peak months of the summer or for their last winter usage--will not be affected.

Atherton promised that, over the next couple of billing cycles, all issues “will be ironed out.”

“Anytime you make a change, particularly in a billing system, it will cause a disturbance in the force,” he said.

Atherton did say that the new format is an improvement. For one thing, “we can get more information on it.”

But the real advantage will become evident down the road--in the next six to 12 months--when the Utility establishes on-line and credit card payments, something not possible under the old billing system.


Posted 8/13/2013





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