• Snohomish PUD changes billing after complaints


    A year after Snohomish PUD was blasted for overbilling customers, the utility has new software and dozens of new workers in the field.

    Its new billing system went online this weekend.

    The PUD spent millions to fix the system that flopped last year and caused an outcry from customers.

    The utility went to a system where workers only checked the meters at homes every other month, estimating the charges in between.

    It led to huge problems, and thousands of customers complained their bills doubled or tripled.

    After KIRO 7's Jesse Jones took the complaints to the utility, officials went back to the drawing board.

    About $10.5 million later, Snohomish PUD now has new billing software and three dozen extra contracted workers who will be out checking customers' gas meters every month with new hand-held devices to input readings from the field.

    As part of the change, though, the PUD is splitting the routes. Half will be PUD employees, the other half will be contractors with a company called TruCheck.

    Snohomish County PUD wants customers to know how TruCheck workers will be dressed so they won't be alarmed if they see someone wandering around their yard.

    The will have red shirts, possibly with a yellow vest or rain jacket, with the TruCheck and PUD logos, and the words authorized contractor.

    They will also have a PUD badge with their photo.

    Snohomish PUD says this new system will only run for a few years, after which most customers will be switched to smart meters which will transmit the data directly to the billing system.

    Next Up: