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City Council 6 Feb 2017: Gas overcharge issue revisited

It was agreed to work with any former gas customer wanting an individual review and do everything possible to resolve it. Mayor Hardwick says all actions now being taken are standard ones and are approved by the city's auditor, and that he won't make any changes in the pay out until he receives audit approval.
Click on headline for complete Gas Overcharge Resolution article

By Ed Waggener

The City's gas overcharge, covered last month by Auditor Brent Billingsley of Campbell, Myers and Rutledge, was brought up for further clarification by Councillors Craig Dean and Mark Harris who both reported having been questioned by resident gas customers for more details.

Customers are now receiving adjustments in gas bills which will assure that $108,000 in overcharges are refunded, Mayor Hardwick said, and City Clerk Rhonda Loy said that that amount will have been credited to City Gas Customers by the time they receive their March 2017 Columbia Gas Department bills.

Background: It was discovered in September, 2016 that for eight months gas customers of the City of Columbia had been over billed due to a mistake on the transportation fee charge.

Questions raised by some Council Members - Craig Dean and Mark D. Harris - that not every single gas customers was receiving the exact amount they overpaid, will be studied, Mayor Hardwick said, and there may be a way to cover every single overpayment to the penny, but he, and Council Member Ron Rogers emphasized that the way the overcharge is being handled is standard for utilities everywhere.

Clerk Rhonda Loy said that most overcharges for residential users was in the $25 range.

When the Auditor discovered the problem, repayments were immediately begun at his direction. Reimbursements have been underway since and continue through March in the form of deductions to each of the addresses billed which are also getting a current gas bill at that same address.

Discussion was held for any citizens who might have moved and could be due a refund of payments made before they stopped being a City gas customer.

Mayor Hardwick said he wouldn't make any changes beyond the present payback in progress unless the Auditor gave approval. He noted the recommendation that the gas company needs to improve the way customers are billed for gas use.

It was agreed to work with any former gas customer wanting an individual review and do everything possible to resolve it.

This story was posted on 2017-02-07 11:34:52
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