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DeKalb County reports ‘significant progress’ on water billing woes

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DeKalb County reports ‘significant progress’ on water billing woes

A dripping faucet. Photo by Danny Steaven. Source: Wikimedia commons
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A dripping faucet. Photo by Danny Steaven. Source: Wikimedia commons

DeKalb County says it has made “significant progress” addressing the dysfunction and disarray in the county’s water billing system.

County CEO Michael Thurmond is giving an update on the situation this evening, Sept. 25. The update will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030. The event will also be lives treamed on Facebook under the hashtag #NewDayProject. The county is finally making some headway in resolving the billing issues, mailing thousands of overdue bills to customers this year.

The billing problems have been years in the making. County CEO Michael Thurmond has made fixing what he has called a “crisis” a top priority.

The bills weren’t mailed because of questions about their accuracy. Some customers have gone months without receiving a bill.

The county says it has mailed out 27,500 of the 37,000 water bills that were held by the county for review.

“A new water billing system approved by the Board of Commissioners will streamline customer billing,” the county said in a press release.

The county also reported improvements to its call center, including:

  • A reduction in call volume by 40 percent compared to same time last year;

  • An average call wait time of 40 seconds;

  • 75 percent of calls answered within 60 seconds; and

  • 97 percent of calls answered.

Here is the full press release from DeKalb County:

DECATUR, Ga.—Today, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond will announce substantial progress toward a better, more efficient water billing system.

Approximately 27,500, or 74 percent, of the 37,000 unverified water bills have been released since April 2017.

“We continue to make significant progress toward developing a world-class 21st Century water system,” CEO Thurmond said. “Much work still needs to be done and we are committed to an open public process.”

CEO Thurmond will hold his fourth countywide public update meeting on water billing issues today, Monday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m., at Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030.

 A new water billing system approved by the Board of Commissioners will streamline customer billing.

Approximately 102,000 small residential water meters will be replaced. Of this amount, 6,000 iPerl water meters with manufacturer’s defects have been replaced out of a possible 40,000. Another 62,000 out-of-lifecycle meters will be replaced over four years.

 Call center customer service improvements include:

  • A reduction in call volume by 40 percent compared to same time last year;
  • An average call wait time of 40 seconds;
  • 75 percent of calls answered within 60 seconds; and
  • 97 percent of calls answered.

The county is investing in technology upgrades and modernizations to ensure greater accountability and oversight in order to provide a reliable information system platform to support world-class 21st Century water system.

 Going forward, DeKalb County plans call for:

  • Approximately 25,000 small residential meters to be replaced annually over a four-year period.
  • The systematic maintenance of all meters at a rate of approximately 7 percent per year based on the age of the meter to ensure that there are no inefficient, out-of-lifecycle water meters.
  • Continued public updates.

The update will be available live on the It’s In DeKalb Facebook page and live-tweeted with the hashtag #NewDayProject. Also, it will be broadcast on DCTV, Comcast Cable Channel 23, for residents living in DeKalb County and livestreamed at www.dekalbcountyga.gov.

For more information, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov/waterbilling.

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