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City of Tulsa working through backlog of bill corrections after ransomware attack

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Posted at 12:23 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 19:45:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — The City of Tulsa's ransomware attack it endured earlier this year is still impacting Tulsans and causing some headaches.

For one former resident, that comes in the form of continuous water bills. It’s a service she said she canceled months ago.

“I take pride in paying our bills on time, if not early,” Victoria Cameron, a former Tulsa resident said.

Cameron said she stays on top of tasks at hand, especially when it comes to finance. When it came time to pack up and move to Virginia, she made sure she had all her ducks in a row.

“We’ve moved enough,” she said.

“I kind of have it down. Usually, a month before we move, I call all the utilities that we have like water, electric."

Cameron said when it came time to close on her home on May 27, she contacted the City of Tulsa to get her final bill payment but couldn't get through.

“We couldn't get through because there was an automated message saying the system had been hacked and just to be patient,” she said.

A cyberattack wreaked havoc on city systems, halting most online operations. It didn't stop the bills Cameron continued to get for her former home in Tulsa while now living in Virginia.

“We received a letter in the mail from the City of Tulsa and it says your total amount is due for 7/29/2021 and it had the month of May, June and the current month of July,” Cameron said.

She said she had all utilities shut off when she moved and tried to contact the city again for an adjusted bill to reflect her last payment due in May.

“I couldn't get through.”

After hours of waiting, Cameron contacted the city's water line break reporting system where she spoke to a person for the first time, who informed her to dispute the bill and email the city.

On Aug. 11, Cameron not only did that but sent a handwritten letter as well to explain she was being overcharged. Finally, an email from the City arrived in her inbox stating her bill would be adjusted and to call Customer Care Service to take care of the issue.

“I spent probably three hours on the phone and there's no person that can answer the phone,” Cameron said.

This meant no way to dispute her bill, so Cameron contacted the 2 News Problem Solvers. Cameron was then sent an adjusted bill by email.

The City said there's currently a backlog of bill corrections for customers who moved in and out during the period systems were impacted by malware as Customer Care was not able to answer phones.

Once those telephone lines were back online, the city said customers also had difficulty getting through because of the flood in calls that went unanswered in May and June.

Currently, the City of Tulsa is halfway through all the requests received in July.

The city said in a statement that it appreciates customers’ patience as it works through this backlog.

For Customer Care assistance with utility accounts, customers can call 311 or (918) 596-2100 if located in city limits or send an email to tulsa311@cityoftulsa.org.

Contact the Problem Solvers:

  • 918-748-1502
  • problemsolvers@kjrh.com

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