Audit will cover how department responds to customers who appeal ‘catch up’ bills
SEATTLE – Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) and chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, has requested the Seattle City Auditor’s Office to look into billing practices at Seattle City Light over “catch up” bills caused by the department’s newly-implemented metering system.
Councilmember Mosqueda’s office has received numerous complaints about Seattle City Light over-billing customers while it implements its new advanced metering system, errors caused by estimated billing practices.
“Ensuring that City Light has clear policies that customers and staff alike understand is important to delivering high-quality service,” said Mosqueda. “My commitment is not only to ensure those policies are clearly articulated and followed, but that we are prepared to nimbly respond to constituent concerns about billing, and are inward-looking, identifying problematic policies and remedying them to best benefit our communities.”
Councilmember Mosqueda requested the audit on August 16, 2018.
The audit will review the following:
- The process City Light uses to prevent erroneous or unanticipated catch up bills for customers
- How City Light determines whether a catch up bill is accurate
- How City Light communicates to customers about catch up bills and other types of estimated billing
- Process for resolving customer complaints and appeals
- Policies to make reasonable accommodations for customers who receive bills that are more than what they anticipated, including payment options available
- And the process for reimbursement when customers have been overcharged
Councilmember Mosqueda has also requested the Auditor’s Office provide recommendations for ways City Light can address billing issues, including how to improve communications with customers about to receive a catch up bill, and subsequent payment accommodations for customers billed high amounts.
Councilmember Mosqueda and her office will work with City Light and the Auditor’s office to expedite this process, and all parties anticipate presenting information, and releasing recommendations as those become available.
Following recommendations from the Auditor, Councilmember Mosqueda will work with City Light and the Mayor’s Office to identify which recommendations can be implemented immediately, and which will require further council action. Ultimately, Councilmember Mosqueda will work to ensure that the issues with billing and customer communication are addressed, and that clear policies are in place, and moving forward to immediately respond to any issues with billing and customer communication going forward.
Contact: Dana Robinson Slote, Council Communications,