New audit clears Independence Utility Center of manipulating meters

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- In a battle of frustrated residents versus the Independence Utility Center, a new audit put the Utility Center in the clear.

For months, frustrated Independence customers have complained of escalating utility bills over the summer. Some resident said their bills doubled and then tripled over three to four months

Critics began speculating that the city was manipulating meters to raise more money. So Independence city leaders hired an independent consultant to do an audit.

BHMG Engineers tested the utility meters and examined and analyzed residents' bills. The audit concluded that the system is calculating bills correctly. It further stated that bills were higher because of the longer, hotter summer and found that the complexity of electric rates caused the increasing customer frustration.

Some customers believed all along that the meters were programmed correctly, and the audit proved them right.

But other customers are not satisfied —even after the new audit.  

Laura Guiterres said her utility bill has jumped from $400 to $1,000.

“Something is wrong. It’s just too much money,” Guiterres said.

She plans to ask the Independence Utility Center to come and check her meter.  

BHMG executives presented their audit findings to Independence city leaders Monday night at a meeting in City Hall.  

The public will be able to respond to the audit and ask questions about their utility bills at the next City Council meeting on Oct. 1. Residents who wish to speak at the meeting must sign up at City Hall before noon on Friday.  

To read the full BHMG audit, click here.  

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