The city also says every meter in the city will be read with the new oversight procedures to ensure accuracy.
“Every bill must be accurate and anything less is unacceptable. San Diegans need to be able to trust that their bills are correct – and that every cent they pay goes to making sure we have safe, reliable water,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “I have directed staff to take the necessary steps to ensure that nobody pays more than they should, meters are properly read, and any mistakes are corrected immediately.”
Affected customers will receive letters within the coming week informing them of the correction for the November-December billing period, the city said in a news release.
The city says it will be implementing the following actions:
Requiring PUD supervisors to personally sign off on daily reports from meter readers
Adding security protocols to ensure that only designated staff have ability to input data
Improving automated alerts that flag unusual spikes in water usage
Adding a second spot check review of meter reads to ensure accuracy
Participating in the independent City Auditor’s audit of customer billing issues
Including an informational insert in water bills on how customers can read their own meters and track their water use
“The Mayor has given me free reign to do what it takes to ensure the accuracy of bills for our customers,” said Vic Bianes, the City’s PUD Director. “Our internal review has determined this appears to be an isolated incident that is limited in scope. We are working diligently so that no customer is overcharged and implementing new oversight measures to make sure we’re providing the highest level of customer service.”
Previously, the city stood by its new water meters despite resident complaining of high bills.
"I am absolutely confident that these meters are reading accurately," Michael Vogl, the city's public utilities deputy director, who oversees water billing said in September of 2017.
Those with concerns are asked to contact the city by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 619-515-3500.
Below are the areas where customers were overcharged for their water bills: