Turning around billing issues, Richmond’s DPU director hopes for new system in 2026
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - An eye-opening audit is casting a bad rap on Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities. But from estimated bills to uncollected ones, April Bingham, DPU’s senior director, says since that March report, they’ve made forward progress.
“It really highlighted a lot of the challenges but also opportunities that were in front of us,” said Bingham.
Bingham says they’ve hired about 20 temporary meter readers to cut down on the number of estimated bills.
In March, the department estimated 15% of its bills. Today, that’s been cut by about half to 7.5% of its bills.
“We brought in two different classes of employees within our call center and billing department to work on adjustments. To work on answering the calls,” said Bingham.
NBC12 was granted rare access inside DPU’s calling center on Broad Street. The department has struggled with a lack of workers but is staffing back up.
Bingham says closing the center for a few hours each Wednesday has also allowed them to clear about 9,000 backlogged transactions.
“That’s a winning solution. It’s something different. It was an opportunity. It was a challenging opportunity but we came through it,” said Bingham.
Long-term, a replacement for the 40-year-old billing system is coming together. Bingham says that will put more information into hands of customers, including bill spike alerts.
“So hopefully we will be celebrating in January 2026 with a brand new billing system and a new sense of strength and energy for the community,” said Bingham.
That audit also revealed DPU is 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 to those who haven’t paid. If you need help, you can set up payment arraignments with promise pay by calling (804) 626-5420.
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