Residents outraged over June utility charges

Posted at 5:52 AM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 06:52:59-04

CORPUS CHRISTI – KRIS 6 News has received multiple reports from residents who tell us they are concerned about their June utility charges, particularly the water bill.

Public neighborhood forums like Nextdoor are flooded with posts about sky-high charges. Dale Green has lived in Corpus Christi for more than 60 years and said he’s never seen anything like this.

"I think the city is either understaffed, or helter skelter. Something is not right," Green said.

Margaret Morin with the Utility Business Office said the most likely reason for the uptick is a new method of wastewater calculation that went into effect January of 2018.

"Prior to 2018, we did what was known as ‘winter quarter averaging.’ So there was three months defined as December, January and February usage," Morin said.

The total of those three months was then divided by three, resulting in your winter quarter average.

Now, as opposed to that total, your wastewater total is based on your household water consumption.

Customers also expressed frustrations about the length of time it’s taken to have their questions answered.

"You cannot get a phone call through, and if you do, it will disconnect and you’ll end up the 17th caller or 15th caller. It’ll take you a good hour, if you’re lucky," Green said.

Morin said the city is aware of the high volume of concerns and offered an estimated call-back time.

"There is an increase on walk-ins at this time and also call volume, but our goal is to return calls within three business days if they leave a message," Morin said.

This method of calculating wastewater totals will be in effect until at least January of 2020.

The Corpus Christi City Council will vote again next fall, and will decide whether to continue with the current method, or re-adopt the method of averaging totals.