FRANKLIN PUD: Computer Glitch to Blame for Double Billing County Residents
PASCO, Wash. -- "It's just one of those things that slipped through the cracks and we're doing a thorough investigation of our whole system now," said Debbie Bone-Harris, the Public Affairs manager at Franklin PUD Wednesday, about a billing problem that has costs hundreds of residents extra money on their electric bill.
Jeremy Blasdel, who lives in Franklin County discovered the error last week when he noticed a higher bill. "I noticed that I had been charged a city tax," Blasdel said. The problem is that Blasdel lives in Franklin County, a part known as the Doughnut Hole, and already pays a county tax and he's been paying the city utility tax on top of it since 2009.
"He is getting a credit on his utility bill for that," Bone-Harris said. She said he's not the only one this has happened to. "We've identified about 500 accounts out of 24,000 that are in this situation, and so we're going back three years and take a look and those customers will be credited back for the city utility tax.," Bone-Harris said.
She said the problem is likely caused by a computer glitch.
"As people move in and out, if they don't identify themselves as being in the county, the software automatically defaults back to a city residence," she said.
Bone-Harris said any homeowner or business who believes they were double charged can call Franklin PUD customer service at 509-546-5973, but the staff will go through every bill manually and correct the problem.
Bone-Harris said on January 1st, 528 Doughnut Hole residents will start paying that city utility tax once they are annexed, including Blasdel who has some advice for everyone. "Double check your bills, you never know what you're being charged for unless you look."