REDDING, Calif. - Following summer, Redding Electric Utility (REU) was under fire for what some customers believed were unjustified and unfair increases in their electric and water utility bills.
REU Director, Dan Beans, responded publicly, explaining how the billing for the months of July and August was conducted, as it raised so many questions and concerns.
CFO and Assistant Director for Financial Services, Mark Haddad, echoed Beans clarification.
"Nobody has been over-charged one cent," he said. "We recognize that the bills have been very high and that's due to increased usage of electricity and water due to a very hot summer."
Both Beans and Haddad explained that the usage numbers for the month of July for neighborhoods in the southwest part of Redding were not uploaded into the system the day it was gaged due to human error. Consequently, the system pulled together billing estimates based on last year's numbers from the same month.
However, Haddad said last July's numbers were, on average, much lower. Particularly, for water.
"We were on water restrictions and people could only water their lawns certain days of the week, and this year, those water restrictions due to the rainy winter have been lifted."
REU took what their customers were actually billed for July and subtracted that amount from what they should have paid based on the numbers that weren't uploaded into the system. They then took the difference in that dollar amount and tacked it onto August's utility bills.
The higher numbers caused many customers to become confused and even upset. However, REU continued to assure them that the hotter months resulted in the higher costs.
"With 72 days over 100 (degrees), the usage was much higher this year in both usage and power," Haddad said.
He added that REU takes full responsibility for the human error and lack of communication upon the discovery of the situation.
"When we noticed this was an issue, we should have reached out to those customers ahead of time, let them know what was coming," he said. "And we will also do a better job of that in the future."
REU said any customer is welcome to look at their home utility usage at REU's office if they continue to have questions. Customers can also learn more about REU's budget billing program here.