Water Department Billing & Customer Service Problems Hearing Request

December 14, 2011

Thank you for your December 13, 2011 memorandum requesting a Natural Resources and Culture (NR&C) Committee hearing concerning recent problems with the City's Public Utility Department's (PUD) billing and customer service. In response to many constituents contacting the City Council offices regarding the level of customer service provided by the City's new water billing system (Customer Care Solutions) over the last few months, I scheduled an informational hearing on the matter at the November 9, 2011, NR&C Committee meeting.

Many of the concerns listed in your memorandum were discussed at this hearing. The PUD outlined the problems it has had in converting to the new system, including increased call center queue wait and call duration times, billing errors, and customers' decreased access to service representatives. A number of citizens submitted public testimony regarding their concerns with the new system and PUD staff was present to hear them. The PUD expressed their commitment to addressing the unexpected problems with the conversion to the new system and indicated that they are in the process of hiring temporary staff to handle the resulting increased call volume. The PUD has also assigned a staff member to act as a liaison to assist City Council offices receiving requests for assistance with the issues mentioned above.

I look forward to working with you and other Councilmembers to continue to monitor and address this issue in the coming months. For your convenience, I have attached backup material provided to our NR&C Committee at the hearing. If you have any questions, please contact me.

David Alvarez with District 80 residents


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