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  • ABC 10 News KGTV

    Nearly 700 San Diego utility customers getting refunds after billing error

    By Jermaine Ong,


    SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The City of San Diego announced Tuesday that it is refunding 690 Public Utilities Department customers who qualified for federal COVID relief credits but were instead billed.

    According to city officials, a contractor working with the city’s Department of Information Technology caused the error.

    The mistake was reported to the Public Utilities Department on June 4.

    Per the city, “Instead of applying credits to qualifying customer accounts through a federal COVID relief program, funds were inadvertently deducted from some customer bank accounts.”

    Jonathan Behnke, the director of the IT department, said in a statement, “We took immediate action to address this mistake, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that customers have experienced as a result of this issue. Over the past year we’ve been focused on improving customer service and communication with San Diegans. The Department of IT is implementing processes that will ensure this type of issue never happens again.”

    City officials said that as of Tuesday, all customers who were inadvertently billed were notified and refunds for any bank deduction over $10 were issued. Customers with less than $10 deducted will receive a credit on their bill, officials added.

    “The city will also refund any bank overdraft charges or other fees or penalties that customers may have incurred and will seek reimbursement from the IT vendor for those costs,” officials stated.

    The city's Public Utilities Department serves more than 283,000 residential and business customers and “is in the process of developing a new online customer self-service portal and other technology enhancements to better serve residents and businesses.”

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