ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - If you are a customer of the Alexandria Utility Department and your monthly utility has been much larger than it usually is, you now have an answer.
City of Alexandria
In a statement released Tuesday by Alexandria Director of Utilities, Mike Marcotte, a shortage in meter reader positions seems to be the blame.
In the statement, Marcotte said that the City has received numerous complaints about larger than normal monthly utility bills. He also said that the department currently has six of its nine budgeted meter reader positions open, and that leaves just three people to read the more than 60,000 meters across the City's service area.
The result of that shortage has been billing cycles of approximately 40 days instead of the normal 28 - a 31-percent increase in the cycle that has impacted the amount customers are being billed at one time.
The release said that a customer with a bill normally at $400 per month (28 days) would likely pay around $525 for that 40-day period. Unfortunately for customers, that longer cycle has hit during the hotter summer months when bills are often higher anyway.
Marcotte said in the release that contract workers are being brought in to supplement the existing staff of meter readers until the vacancies are filled and that the City is committed to resuming normal billing cycles "as soon as practical."
The release also stated that customers experiencing hardships because of the larger than normal bills can contact the Utility Customer Service Office, 441-6310, or stop by the Utility Customer Service Office at 625 Murray Street in Alexandria to discuss a payment arrangement.