While the first cable bills sent out by Charter Communications have caused a fair amount of anxiety for customers, Charter officials want to assure those customers that it is a misunderstanding and will be straightened out with the next billing cycle.
According to Matt Favre, vice president and general manager of Georgia operations for Charter, after the switch from Covington Cable's billing system to that of Charter at the beginning of September the company thought it was necessary to restate the customer's cable charges from September to October in a single bill. This does not mean that customers were billed the amounts indicated on the bill for one month.
Those customers that paid their bills to the city of Covington before Sept. 21 should see it credited it to their account, Favre said.
While those customers who paid their bill after Sept. 21 did not see it credited to their account on their most recent Charter bill, Favre said those payments should now be credited to their account. All future bills will be for one month of service.
Skip James, government relations director for Charter Communications in Georgia, appeared before the Covington City Council at their Monday night meeting to apologize for the misunderstanding and to answer questions from the council.
"I'm sorry for any inconvenience or misunderstanding the billing process may have created, but it was necessary to state the last month's services on the bill," James said.
Despite James' apologies several council members expressed severe disapproval with the way the cable transfer had been handled.
"I'm very discontent with it," said Council member Janet Goodman of her own experience with Charter over the past month. "I hope that it gets better."
City Manager Steve Horton commented that despite the miscommunication over the bill statements, he was gratified to know that when he expressed his concerns to Charter, Charter officials responded promptly to him and took measures to limit further miscommunications with the public.
Charter is currently running service announcements on public access channels to inform the public of any cable blackouts that will occur while the company installs technology upgrades to the cable system.
"We are trying to work as fast as possible," said Favre adding that customers may experience brief outages as technology is changed out but that these upgrades should limit cable outages in the future.
Future blackouts are scheduled to occur between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and should not affect primetime viewing Favre said.