Purcell residents found an unexpected bonus in their utility bills this month – a one-time credit on electricity charges.
City manager Dale Bunn said Tuesday there was a problem in how the fuel cost adjustment was figured in December and March.
The problem caused the city to under bill customers for their electricity usage in December and overbill in March.
Bunn cited an example – The Purcell Register electric bill for those two months.
In December, the city billed the newspaper $359.47 for electricity. The correct amount should have been $361.38.
Then in March the newspaper’s electric bill was $382.29 when it should have been $345.74.
This month, the newspaper received a $34.64 credit on the electric bill.
Bunn explained the fuel cost adjustment is a moving target, changing from month to month based on what it costs the city to pay for the power.
Depending on the generating source, the city may have a higher or lower cost to purchase electricity.
The problem with the fuel cost adjustment in December and March is it wasn’t entered correctly before those bills went out.
The two errors were caught by auditors, Bunn said.
The city has now implemented a system of checks and balances to ensure the problem doesn’t repeat, he added.