Rockdale Water Resources ran into problems in November 2009 while importing data for the new Cogsdale software program. As a result, many residents did not receive a bill for December's services. The double bills bring the billing schedule back on track, said RWR administrators.
For example, in one zone December bill was mailed out in January, the January bill was mailed out in March, and the February bill was mailed out in March, the March bill mailed in April, and both April and May bills were mailed in May.
The county is divided into eight different zones which have their meters manually read on different dates.
Another issue that arose was that some bills were generated earlier than normal and payments took longer to post than normal, resulting in the appearance of late payments.
RWR Customer Services Director Al Ford said payments on the months were customers receive double bills will not incur a late fee.
Many customers were reportedly taken aback by the double bills and calls came pouring in while customer lines went out the doorway last week at RWR's customer services. It was also discovered the phone lines did not have recorded messages when all circuits were busy.
Commissioners Oz Nesbitt and JaNice Van Ness chastised the customer services department at the June 14 Board of Commissioners work session for not sending out notice ahead of time. A press release was sent out June 11, and Ford pointed out a press release had been sent out last year when the glitch first occurred.
Nesbitt said that he was inundated with emails and questions from frustrated residents, "and I didn't know how to answer."
"It's a little embarrassing that our slogan for the county includes ‘exceptional service' and we're as far from it as possible on this issue," said VanNess.
"Absolutely," said RWR Director Dwight Wicks. "What we have to do now is look at correcting what is out there now and preventing this from happening in the future."
Nesbitt pointed out that for some residents on a fixed income, receiving two bills "sends a shock to their monthly expenses."
Wicks said there was a special route set up for seniors over 60 years old on a fixed income with about 300 customers that had requested to be on the route. Those customers had their meter readings processed manually so that they would receive their bill at the end of the month, no matter what zone they lived in, and did not receive double bills.