Some customers who are on the municipal utility's automatic payment program recently received notices that they would be subject to late fees and penalties because they hadn’t paid their bill.
The utility's controller, Kristin Kratt, said there was a blunder with a company that handles withdrawals for the BLP. She said the company failed to make the withdrawals from customers' accounts and bills were reported as being unpaid.
Kratt said that normally a file is sent from the Grand Haven utility to the billing company, and it bills customers’ bank accounts accordingly.
“That file wasn’t sent, so the payments weren’t pulled,” she explained.
According to Kratt, the mishap isn’t impacting customers who have auto-pay accounts through the utility's website, or for people who make one-time payments.
“It’s a large inconvenience for customers, and we recognize that,” she said.
Kratt said they aren’t yet sure how many customers were impacted by the billing glitch or how much money is involved. As a result, the utility is unable to automatically reimburse customers who were erroneously charged a late fee.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to go in automatically and waive those late fees,” Kratt said.
She said the utility is working to obtain the list of impacted customers from the third party company in order to contact them and correct the problem.
In the meantime, Kratt encourages customers who received late notices to contact the utility to correct the situation and have the late fee waived.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.