Richmond, Virginia. (WWBT) – An eye-catching audit has cast a bad look at the Richmond Department of Public Utilities. But from estimated bills to uncollected bills, says April Bingham, DPU senior manager, since the March report, they’ve made headway.
“It really highlighted a lot of the challenges but also the opportunities that were ahead,” said April Bingham, senior director of Richmond’s Utilities Department.
Bingham says they hired about 20 temporary meter readers to reduce the number of estimated bills.
In March, the department estimated 15% of its bills. Today, that has been cut in half, to 7.5% of her bills.
“We brought in two different categories of staff within our call center and billing department to work on adjustments. To work on answering calls,” Bingham said.
NBC12 was given rare access inside the DPU’s call center on Broad Street. The department suffers from a shortage of workers, but it is working on increasing the number of employees.
Closing the position for a few hours every Wednesday, Bingham says, also allowed them to clear the backlog of about 9,000 transactions.
“This is the winning solution. It’s something different. It was an opportunity. It was a tough opportunity but we got through it,” Bingham said.
In the long term, an alternative to the 40-year-old billing system will be created. Bingham says that will put more information in customers’ hands, including alerts for high bills.
“So we hope to celebrate in January 2026 a whole new billing system and a new sense of strength and energy for the community,” Bingham said.
That audit also revealed that DPU owed more than $60 million in unpaid bills. Bingham says that’s changing, too.
As of July 1, DPU is now cutting off gas and water service for those who have not paid. If you need assistance, you can set up payment arrangements with a promise of payment by calling (804) 626-5420.
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