Audit Report 11-08, Water Usage and Billing Accuracy, Released

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The Internal Audit Department released their audit report of the Water Usage and Billing Accuracy.

The Tampa Water Department, a department under Public Works and Utility Services, treats and delivers drinking water to a service population of approximately 570,000 people in the Tampa Bay area and is responsible for city-wide water conservation efforts to help manage local water demands. The Tampa Water Department is organized into the Production, Distribution and Consumer Services, and Engineering Divisions, who report to the Department Director.

Distribution and Consumer Services is responsible for maintenance of the water distribution system and the monthly utility billing of water, wastewater, and solid waste services for the City. The consumer services section handles all consumer inquiries, utility account services, and system maintenance requests. Most of the City's utility customers receive a consolidated monthly bill for three utility services – Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste. The Water Department delivers potable and reclaimed water services to over 125,000 customers. The Division reads over 140,000 water meters, most of them bi-monthly, and prepares and mails bills monthly. The Department's service area encompasses 211 square miles.

In December 2010 and January 2011, an unusually large number of customer complaints were received concerning high water bills. High water bill issues began to be raised in media coverage and by City Council. In response, the Mayor assembled an internal task force to examine the complaints, identify potential causes for the high bills, and provide recommendations to improve service levels. As part of the task force, the Internal Audit Department was requested to conduct an independent audit of the Water Department's
Distribution and Customer Services Division.