NIXA, Mo. — A processing error for Nixa Utilities is leading many customers with altered bills this month.
“What happened on November 6th was our first cycle customers all got charged based on actual usage, and nobody was charged based on average usage,” Drew Douglas, the City of Nixa’s Director of Communications said.
He said any customers who pay usage rates will not see any change in their bill.
The error means if you used less than your average, your bill may be lighter, which never hurts.
However, if you lean on that average to pay less, your meter may actually read your bill may have been increased on accident.
“We’re still getting used to a new software system and there has to do with the new system,” Douglas said. “We’ve learned what the source that error is and how to correct for in the future.”
Douglas said minor issues aren’t new with the newly implemented software, but this is the first time it’s had negative impacts.
“This is a this is a brand new system. We’re still kind of adjusting to that. We’ve implemented just this year in 2023, and we’re still working out kinks, and this is one of those kinks that we are working out where we’re trying to make sure that everything operates smoothly and we’re working with the vendor to make sure everything’s going to be working smoother,” Douglas added.
Within hours of Ozarksfirst reaching out, many utility customers got this letter from the city which reads,
“Some Nixa Utilities customers have been charged more than their average amount for sewer on bills sent out November 6th which are due November 22nd. We apologize for the error. We understand frustration you may have regarding this, and are working with customers to adjust charges to the benefit of the customer.
Normally, Nixa Utilities customers are charged an averaged amount for the sewer portion of their bill (the average is calculated based on actual usage January through March, or, for customers who move in after March who request to be charged an average, the average is charged assuming 2,500 gallons used per person, per month).
However, the error in our bill generation process caused these customers to be charged for their actual usage rather than the average on this billing cycle.
For some, their actual usage may be lower than their average, so the sewer charge is lower than normal.
For others, the actual usage may be higher than their average, so they may call Nixa Utilities at 417-725-3229 to have the bill adjusted to the lower average amount for the sewer portion of the bill.
We have identified the cause of this issue and are committed to resolving it so this does not occur again.”
One of the customers affected is Josh Jarriel, who was charged nearly $100 for sewer alone.
“I looked at the individual charges within the bill and saw a discrepancy there, called Nixa Utilities, told them what I found in the bill after being on hold,” Jarriel said. “They told me that it was an issue, but didn’t really explain what the issue was, and they said that they were going to rectify it, which they did.”
Jarriel says the city’s quickness to not only acknowledge the situation but also fix it, is comforting, and applauds the city’s transparency.
“I want people to know this is an issue and that I don’t want people to have to pay extra for their bills,” Jarriel said. “I’m glad that Nixa Utilities have stepped in, and it seems like they’re trying to make that right.”
Douglas said people who think their bills have been altered should reach out.
“Our new system is not allowing us to like kind of blanket go in and and adjust all bills back to insert averages in for all the customers who are on average,” Douglas said “We’re just going to ask folks that if your current sewer charge is higher than your average the last few months, you can go ahead and call us and we’ll adjust that in your favor.”
Jarriel added, that with Nixa Utilities being the only source for utilities in the city, occasional third-party audits can help improve accuracy and expand transparency.
Nixa says the error should not happen again.