Some Kingfisher Residents Receive Higher Than Usual Utility Bills

Monday, August 12th 2013, 5:31 pm

Some folks in Kingfisher got quite the surprise this weekend when their electric and water bills were hundreds of dollars more than usual.

Rhonda Smith's water bill usually runs between $15 and $60 dollars. But this month's was well over $800.

"I almost had a stroke, $813.75," said Smith Monday.

Dave Slezickey said it happened to him too.

"Six-hundred eighty-six, I think my last bill was $220," he said.

Slezickey is also the Kingfisher City manager.

"We apologize to our customers and we feel bad they're going through this," said Slezickey,

Slezickey says because of personal reasons, the City's contracted meter reader didn't actually read most meters and instead estimated. When the City noticed something was suspicious and actually checked the meters they realized the reader had in most cases grossly underestimated usage.

"Essentially we had errors in our readings and we're playing catch up on it and it's not any fun for the customer and it's not any fun for us."

But Rhonda says in her case that reasoning doesn't hold water when her typical usage is 8 units and this bill was 575.

"The amount of water on here, I could have actually filled up Canton Lake," she exclaimed. "If they can prove to me I used it, I'll pay it. Otherwise I guess we will just be carrying water from town."

The City manager says they will double check Smith's meter, and it does appear something is amiss. But in most cases residents will have to pay up.

"It has been consumed, it's been used," he explains.

The Kingfisher city council is meeting Monday night at 5:30. Many residents are expected to voice their displeasure of the issue. The City Manager says he will ask the council to waive all late fees so residents can make payment arrangements. Slezickey also says the city plans to suspend automated drafts of bills so resident's bank accounts are not overdrawn.