This is another in a series of regular updates on City Light’s progress in resolving billing issues.
As reported earlier, all 78 disputed bills that resulted from a problem with the billing system’s high-bill filter have been resolved or are pending before the hearing officer.
Since mid-April, in cases separate from the filter problem, City Light has reviewed another 238 inquiries about high bills. Of that total, City Light adjusted 110 bills downward and determined that 110 bills required no adjustment. Eighteen cases are still under review. Requests for reviews of accounts are diminishing. About two-thirds of the cases came to City Light between April 10 and 25, and the remaining one-third have come in over the subsequent five weeks.
A total of 27 commercial cases have come to City Light since mid-April. The utility has resolved 23 cases, 17 of which have had a bill adjustment. Three cases are still under review. No new cases have been reported since May 16.
As reported in the May 3 billing issues status report, City Light in 2000 and 2001 inspected all 75 of the complex meters used by the utility’s largest customers. The utility found wiring problems in four of them. The problems caused the meters to under-record the amount of energy being used, and customers were being underbilled.
Two of the cases, involving the downtown Seattle Nordstrom store and a Wright-Runstad construction site, were resolved with the customers soon after being discovered. The other two, involving the Boeing Company and the Municipal Building, are very close to being resolved.
City Light’s preliminary estimate for the Municipal Building was about $580,000 for energy consumed but unbilled since 1992. Based on further testing of the building’s electrical equipment, City Light and the Municipal Building have determined a bill amount of $519,160. The Municipal Building has decided to make a lump sum payment of $398,346 to take advantage of a present value discount.*
City Light’s preliminary estimate early this month for Boeing’s bill was about $800,000, based on underbillings since 1989. Extensive meter testing and review of billing records this month resulted in a revised City Light estimate of $498,448, based on unbilled energy use dating from 1995. Boeing is currently discussing how it wants to make the payment.
* Present value discount: Customers can choose to pay off bills over the same amount of time they were underbilled, eventually paying the full amount. Or they can get a present value discount by paying a lump sum, which, together with the interest over that same amount of time, would equal the full amount of the bill.