Software glitch affects Waterloo water bills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Software glitch affects Waterloo water bills

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KWWL -

Waterloo Water Works says a software malfunction in its meter reading system may have affected customer water bills. 

The glitch would have affected 3rd quarter statements.  The issue did not result in over-charges, just an imbalance in how charges were distributed between the 2nd and 3rd quarter bills of some customers.

"Some customers might see higher bills than usual in the third quarter because their second quarter was too low," said Waterloo Water Works General Manager Matt Mahler. "Some might see lower bills in the third quarter because their second bill was too high."

The inaccurate meter readings happened during a six week period this past summer, from the start of July to mid-August.

Mahler says the software glitch isn't just isolated to one part of the city.

Waterloo Water Works says the affected residential routes include parts of the Audubon Park Neighborhood, areas along west 4th Street through downtown, as well as neighborhoods surrounding Cunningham Elementary and areas southwest of Broadway Street. 

The department believes less than 10% of customers in the routes were affected by the inaccurate readings. 

"A portion of impacted customers would have received an incorrect low billing amount in the 2nd quarter resulting in a higher billing amount in the 3rd quarter in order to make up any difference," said Mahler. 

Waterloo Water Works says the glitch was tracked down to a computer device employees use. 

 "Our employees have a computer that they bring out with them when they go and collect meter readings from our customers," said Mahler. "And that computer has a device that we touch to the house. And the house sends the signal from the meter to the hand-held computer. We bring that computer back to our office and that uploads it to our billing software, and the billing software sends the bills out to customers.The hand-held device had a software error in it, where it was getting incorrect meter readings from about 10% of our customers."

Mahler says since the bills have already been sent out, it's difficult to determine who was impacted.

"So we're asking all of our customers that are getting the bills to just take a close look and make sure the bill, and charges are consistent with what you'd expect them to be," said Mahler. 

If you have a concern over your statement, contact the Waterloo Water Works billing department at 319-232-6280, and follow prompt #6. 

“The Waterloo Water Works apologizes for confusion arising from this software error,” said Mahler. “We want to be sure our customers understand all the charges on their water bills. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.”

Waterloo Water Works says they will work with customers to put together a payment plan if they have a higher bill. 

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