An audit of the City of Allen’s water billing practices is reaching its final steps.
Allen City Council voted to conduct the audit in March due to customer concerns over high water bills received during summer 2019. The internal audit is following best practices outlined by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Texas Water Development Board (TWBD).
An independent lab is currently running tests on 200 customer water meters, consisting of 50 meters randomly selected from each of the City’s four water billing cycles. The findings will be compared to results gathered from the City’s own testing equipment and analyzed for any discrepancies.
Earlier this spring, an auditor used City meter reading equipment, which includes a handheld wand and pocket reader, to collect and photograph readings from the same 200 meters.
“This will help us identify any inconsistencies in the data-gathering process and learn whether or not improvements could be made,” said Ryan Patterson, strategic services auditor for the City of Allen.
Next, Patterson will analyze the final step in the billing process, which merges meter reads with automated billing software to prepare customer bills. He also plans to examine historical data for correlations between water use and external factors such as rainfall and average temperatures.
Results from the audit will be presented at an Allen City Council meeting and shared with the public later this summer.
To encourage awareness of customer water use, the City of Allen has boosted communication about reducing water waste in weekly social media posts, ongoing public service reminders and enhanced website resources.