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Billing mistake means higher LCUB gas bills in February

12:29 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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Some customers of the Lenoir City Utilities Board will be paying extra this month.

It's because they paid less than they should have in December, according to LCUB General Manager Shannon Littleton.

Littleton told 10News that their billing agency undercharged LCUB's 5,600 gas customers in Loudon County and Roane County for gas used in November.

He said the utility's billing agency made a mistake and moved a decimal over for the purchased gas adjustment.

Customers should have been billed $0.6968 per 100 cubic feet in their December bill for their November usage.  Littleton said customers were instead billed $0.06968 per 100 cubic feet.

The average customer will be charged about $40 in their February bill to make up for the mistake, according to Littleton.  The amount could certainly be more or less than that based on actual gas usage in November.

LCUB has notified affected customers of the mistake by letter.

"It was our mistake and we apologize for it," Littleton said.  He indicated that the charge was necessary for the financial health of the utility because customers had actually used the gas and LCUB's gas provider has to be paid.

Littleton said that steps have been taken internally to make sure the mistake does not happen again.  He said customers will not be charged interest on their dues.

"For those customers that we caused a hardship on, we simply allowed some time on the back end of their February bill to, without penalty or without interest, for them to make payment on this amount," he said.

One of those customers was Steve Sawa who learned Saturday he would have to pay LCUB back $43.   He said he felt the mistake should have never happened.

"You know if they're making a mistake here, you wonder what else?," Sawa said.

Littleton said customers will notice two line items on their bills this month. One will designate the amount of gas they used in January and the other will show the amount of gas they were under-billed in December.

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