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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

City of Kennedale – Update on recent issues with water billing

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This was posted by Mayor Brian Johnson April 14, 2020 …
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Here is the latest from the [Kennedale] city manager on the water billing errors.
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– March 27, the City of Arlington agreed to read our meters for the billing period (April 27th due dates). The agreement was for them to complete the Kennedale reads on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (April 1,2,3 2020). {{more:? continue …}}?
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– On Friday, April 3rd we received a notification from Arlington that they were not completing the task as quickly as they had anticipated. At that time they had completed approximately 1,750 reads at the completion of day 2, on April 2, 2020. There were numerous reasons for being unable to do all of the reads manually because most had not been read manually in several years. In an effort to keep billing on schedule we asked Arlington to complete as many reads as possible and that we would ask MuniBilling to estimate the remaining ones.?
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– April 3rd – we received the read file and delivered it to MuniBilling for processing as we normally do.
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– Wednesday, April 8 – We received a notice from Munibilling that bills were being mailed.
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– Friday, April 10 – We first learned of a significant problem with billing volumes and invoice amounts (appearing to affect up to 200 customers)?
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– Friday, April 10th – We contacted Arlington alerting them of the problem with a file attached with addresses in which the errors occurred to possibly help them determine whether the issue was with particular neighborhoods, a particular meter reader, ect. Munibilling was also alerted on Friday, April 10th of the problem.
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– Monday, April 13 – We contacted the City of Arlington (COA) first thing Monday morning after Easter to see if the file that we sent gave them any clues as to what happened. The City of Kennedale (COK) staff also sent several emails to COA including some of the read discrepencies (between the format of COA reads and the format of the Aclara reads).?
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– We received a re-read file from Arlington Monday at 11:39 a.m. We immediately sent the re-reads to MuniBilling. Upon review of the reads to determine the differences it was discovered by COK staff and Munibilling that the format of the reads had changed. Reads that were originally eight digits were now seven digits and Reads that were originally seven digits were now six digits.

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– City of Kennedale staff sent an email to Arlington at 1:09 p.m. asking if the differences in the number of digits reported was the culprit in the erroneous bill amounts. A second request for a response was sent at 3:52 p.m. advising that we needed to know the answer so that we can instruct Munibilling on what they needed to do in order to make the reads work.
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– At 4:30 City of Kennedale staff received a phone call from COA advising that they did in fact believe that the number of digits in the reads they originally provided was the problem and gave instructions to COK staff on how MuniBilling needed to format the reads in order for the bills to adjust. COK staff followed up with an email to Arlington to document the call and discussion and immediately contacted MuniBilling to advise.

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– City of Kennedale staff has been working with Munibilling on Tuesday, April 14th to apply the reads the way that Arlington instructed. COK staff hopes to get a bill register from Munibilling today to review the new bill amounts after application of the proper read formats.

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– Staff was advised on April 13, that their account manager at MuniBilling has accepted a new job and we now have a new account manager at MuniBilling (this may cause some delay)?.COK has a call with Munibilling today at 2 p.m. CST to determine if we will get a new bill register today using either 1 of 2 options:?
  1. New bills on those 200 customers to reflect the re-reads that Arlington provided (adjusting the decimal places on the reads)
  2. Completing estimated Billing on the 200 affected accounts

The preference is option 1 because the more months that the City goes without having actual reads the more difficulty we will have getting reads caught up. If option 1 isn?t possible in the next day or so we will proceed with option 2.

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We are hoping corrected bill will be mailed on Wednesday, April 15th. Will have a more definitive answer after the 2 p.m. call today
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Regarding the stormwater billing error ? City of Kennedale staff originally communicated to Munibilling to update the stormwater Fee to $4.50 for residential and religious organizations effective April 1 because that is when the Ordinance stated it would go into effect.
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When COVID-19 prevented the original date of the March Council meeting from occurring there was a breakdown in communication and the April bills were sent out with $4.50 fee before staff notified Munibilling that the Ordinance wasn?t signed due to COVID-19.
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Muniblling has issued a $1.00 credit to the April bills as of today to correct the stormwater fee.

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