News

Gas bills receive council scrutiny

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

Hoping to quell customer concerns, Enumclaw city officials have agreed to review billing procedures for natural gas - specifically, a policy that has left some city residents occasionally paying too much.

“We've had some phone calls from concerned citizens,” said Mayor John Wise. He said the issue really came to light after the city hiked rates by more than 50 percent effective Nov. 1. The rate increase reflected the market cost paid by the city to its supplier.

Locally, the problem is that the city - due primarily to staff resources - reads meters every two months. Due to scheduling, it seems some customers were paying at the new, higher rate for natural gas consumed when rates were lower.

Members of the City Council agreed there's a problem and referred the issue to their Public Works Committee, hoping a policy can be drafted that will make things fair for all customers.

The best answer, Wise said, is for the city to purchase a new meter-reading program that will allow all meters to be read at once, with customers charged for the exact days natural gas was used. Money was allocated in this year's budget to allow for that upgrade, he added.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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