By Scott Sherman | District 7 Dispatch
After hundreds of complaints from San Diego residents about drastic increases to their water bill, City Auditor Eduardo Luna agreed to speed up and expand a planned audit of the city’s Public Utilities Department (PUD) to review water billing practices and examine the use of smart meter technology.
The expanded audit follows reports that more than 300 customers were overcharged on their water bills because of human error in misreading meters. Higher water bills could also be attributed to higher water rates approved by the City Council in 2015, which I voted against.
While the audit is underway, PUD has implemented several new accountability measures to provide better oversight and ensure the accuracy of water bills, including 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; and including an informational insert in water bills on how customers can read their own meters and track their water use.
I also want to remind customers that there are several programs already in place to assist residents who believe their bill is too high. There is a free residential survey program that allows Public Utilities staff to help customers monitor their water consumption and check their property for leaks. More information can be found at bit.ly/1WMdj4F.
Customers who believe they were overcharged are encouraged to contact the city with questions or concerns at 619-515-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, District 7 residents can also contact my office directly at 619-236-6677 or email at email@example.com.
— San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman represents the District 7 neighborhoods of Mission Valley, Grantville, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro and San Carlos.