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Over third of Columbia residents receive rebate from utilities department

Over one-third of residential sewer customers received a rebate from the City of Columbia Utilities department. In June, the sewer rate was not updated from 2016, prompting the department to send back a total of $539,188 to customers.

Over 16,000 received a rebate out of over 40,000 utilities customers. The average rebate was over $30, and one customer said they got over $200 back.

The rebate was necessary due to a lack of updated sewer rates, according to Jim Windsor, assistant director of Columbia Utilities.

In June every customer’s sewer charge rate should have been updated based on their water use during the previous months, but the updates weren’t made. Instead everyone continued to pay the sewer charge rate set in June 2016.

If a customer used less water between November 2016 and March 2017 than they did between November 2015 and March 2016, that customer got a rebate.

A customer’s sewer charge rate is calculated by averaging their water use over five months every year. Water use is tracked from November to March of every year, and the average is used to calculate a customer’s sewer rate. That sewer charge rate is then set for 12 months starting in June of that year.

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