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Tempers boil as City struggles with utility administration changes following FATHOM closure

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 19:39:32-05

COPPERAS COVE, TX — From multiple bills in one month, to meter readings of thousands of gallons of water used in one day, tempers boiled and many Copperas Cove residents were fed up with the City's former third-party water biller, FATHOM.

On Dec. 17, FATHOM closed for good, leaving the City to handle administrative services in-house.

City officials and customers are still adjusting to the change.

Phones are ringing off the hook at the Copperas Cove Utility Administration office, with some customers like Patricia Hendrix unhappy with the response.

"We have called numerous times. I had to leave work just to even come up here," said Hendrix.

Customers have also been in and out of the office all week.

"This is my third time back up here to pay the bill this month and it's because when I go in, there's 20 or more people in line," said Copperas Cove resident Hope Ransom.

Customer service representative Michele Adkins says for the last couple of weeks, they've received more than 1,000 calls and have seen hundreds of customers each day.

"Well ever since the auto-pay and everything has been discontinued, as of Dec. 6, there's been a lot, an influx, of customers coming into the office. We've had like thousands of calls coming in," said Adkins.

Fortunately, city officials say the department is finally feeling some relief and so should customers.

"One of the reasons why is because Jan. 6 ended up being the due date for approximately 6,000 customers," said City Manager Ryan Haverlah. "Right now with customer volume being down it would be a good time for customers to come and talk."

As for residents like Hendrix, not being able to talk to a customer service representative is not the only problem.

"My bill is due on the 14th but I just got it today," said Hendrix.

But, officials say for the time being, customers do not need to worry about those late fees.

"Until we get a new CIS System, which is the billing system, up and running, we will not be applying late fees," said Haverlah. "So we anticipate the transition to the new software being complete in February."

In the mean time, customers are hoping for the best.

"I'm just hoping that they work out the kinks and that it gets back to normal," said Ransom.

City officials say within the next couple of weeks, customers should receive a letter in the mail explaining what to expect as the transition from FATHOM continues.