City News
18

The foot of snow that fell Dec. 9 in Statesville has caused a hardship on city employees tasked with the reading of more than 28,000 residential and commercial water and electric meters.  Statesville City meter readers were unable to travel on many of the residential roads because of icy conditions last week.  They had difficulty locating water meters buried under the plowed snow banks and trekking through the snow-piled yards to reach electric meters.

These weather-related difficulties have delayed the scheduled reading of the meters; instead of the typical 30-day reading, some bills may reflect a reading for as many as 38-40 days.  These additional billing days will show up on January’s utility bills, and customers should prepare now for higher bills.

Weather permitting, the regular meter reading schedule will resume in January. These bills will be calculated on fewer days. 

Plans are to estimate the water usage, based on previous consumption, since it is a lower amount and is typically not impacted by winter weather.  The reason for reading the electric meters is to have an accurate reading for calculating the bill, especially at the time of year when usage is up because of colder temperatures. 

“We know that customers prefer an actual reading over an estimated reading.  We also know they want to be informed when the billing period is longer than usual,” said Assistant City Manager Ralph Staley.  “We hope that by getting this information out now, we can answer customers’ questions before they get January’s bill.”

Nikki Gregory, IT Director and supervisor of the City’s meter reading department, said much discussion has gone into the decision to estimate water usage and read electric meters.  “We certainly understand the customer’s viewpoint regarding high utility bills and the financial hardships they cause.  But we must balance these customer concerns with the safety of our employees,” she explained.

“Not only has it been unsafe, it’s been nearly impossible to get to the meters.  We are all thankful to see the warmer temperatures and rainfall and expect to get back on schedule the first of the year,” Gregory added.

Customers can find their actual billing dates on the bill, located in a box in the middle of the bill.  It will give the date of the most current reading, as well as the date of the previous reading.  Questions about the bill or possible payment options can be addressed to Customer Services at 704-878-3564.          

Nancy Davis
Public Affairs Director
704-878-3586
email Nancy