Hartwell natural gas customers may be a little surprised when they see the most recent bills mailed out this week, but city officials say don’t be fooled by the increase in what is owed.
The city recently began using new meter reading technology and software that allows meter readers to drive past and gather information remotely, city manager Jon Herschell said. But rolling out that technology required a few more adjustments along the way than expected. That prompted a delay in bills going out by about 15 days, he said.
Bills city gas customers will receive in the next few days will include a billing cycle of 45 days, rather than the normal 30, so they will be higher than usual. Herschell said the city will be flexible with customers when it comes to payment because of the billing delay.
Additionally, the following month’s bill will be on only a 15-day billing cycle, he said.
“So it’s kind of like a bill-and-a-half, but next time it will be only half a bill,” Herschell said.
Moving forward, now that the kinks have been worked out, the new technology will be more efficient for reading meters and billing as a whole, he added.
Along with the delay, Herschell also said natural gas providers increased prices in December and a recent cold snap prompted more usage during the billing cycle.
He asked for patience as the city handles the situation.
Anyone with questions can call city hall at 706-376-4756.