City shuts off water due to their billing error

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A Lawton resident said his water was wrongfully shut off Thursday, due to a billing error that was the city’s fault.

Michael Beadles said he knew something was wrong at around 9 a.m. when he tried and failed to fill up a glass of water.

“I figured they were working on the water line somewhere on the street, so I came out and checked. So I looked up and down the street and there wasn’t anything. So I glanced and my water meter box was flipped open with a note hanging out of it,” he said.

The note said “Sorry to have missed you” and to call the City of Lawton.

Beadles said he knew then, this had something to do with all the previous trouble he’s had with the city.

“The city has changed the system of billing, and every month I have to call because my bill has been in disarray with late notices and adjustments and all this and I’m on autopay. Nothing can happen but it has been happening,” he said.

He said he learned he wasn’t alone when he called the city about his water being shut off.

“I said ma’am you haven’t taken care of it. You turned my water off today. And, she said well we already let them know to go back and turn all the water back on again at the accounts that have been turned off this morning. So, that indicated to me that they had more than just me,” he said.

Beadles was right.

When 7News reached out to the city, we learned around 40 customers were impacted by an error that affected over 600 accounts.

“This issue stems from July 2022. At that time, the City of Lawton inadvertently double-posted utility payments to about 675 accounts. *Please note many of these accounts have one owner.

These customers were not charged twice, but their bills did show a credit. The City of Lawton’s Finance Department reversed the double postings late last week. When we ran the delinquent list today to learn who had not paid, the customers impacted by the double-posting were shown to have owed money. We believe that is because they did not pay the true amount owed because their accounts showed the credits from the double-posting that happened in July.

As soon as we learned about the issue, we put all customers who lost water back online.”

City of Lawton

Beadles said around 10 a.m. the city worker came back to turn his water back on.

“I asked him, I said I have one question. How many meters did you turn off? He said well I’ve had to go back and turn about 20 of them back on,” he said.

The City said a letter explaining the situation is now on the way to affected customers and apologizes for any inconvenience as they work to improve.