“It’s going to be hard to try and pay those bills.” Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall warns most customers will receive higher utility bills

Alexandria expects higher utility bills for most if not all utility customers this month.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It is the news many residents did not want to hear and that many worry may financially hurt their wallets; Alexandria expects higher utility bills for most if not all utility customers this month.

For the first time since May, accurate bills are being sent out to utility customers in the month of September. This was a result of the city dealing with a security breach over the last several months that temporarily shut down the city’s computer systems, including the utility department.

In the meantime, estimated bills were sent out for the June, July and August time period, but as Mayor Jeff Hall reported, those estimated bills were actually lower than what customers were using. The cost of the estimated bills was based on actual consumption from this time a year ago.

As a result of the estimated bills being lower, bills in turn for the month of September could be higher for customers to be able to make up the difference from previous months.

Mayor Hall said unfortunately, he expects many Alexandria residents to have to be on a payment plan to be able to pay off the higher than normal bills for this time of year.

“The citizens didn’t do anything wrong to get into this position, nor did the employees do anything wrong, but we are a victim of it,” said Mayor Hall. “We are going to be considerate of the citizens, considerate of the inflation, considerate of the cost and considerate of the reality that it’s tough times. It’s going to be hard to try and pay those bills, and we recognize that, but we are not going to be inhumane and not try to work with the citizens.”

Unlike August, when customers received two bills in one month, Mayor Hall said residents should only receive one bill a month now as they get back to a normal billing cycle with a new meter reading company.

Once customers do receive their bill, the city is advising that if they cannot pay it, to set up a payment plan with the utility department. Utility bills do say that a late fee will be charged if the amount is not paid by a certain date, however, the city said that customers will not be charged any late fee.

Customers can also ask the city to re-read their meters if they feel that their utility bill was off. Mayor Hall said the cost of each person’s bill in September will vary depending on if they paid their estimated bills over the last few months.

Click here to report a typo. Please provide the title of the article in your email.