After 24 hours of radio silence, SeattleIT, Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities have finally admitted that they did in fact have another issue with their new NCIS billing system that caused some customers to see other customers’ bills, and led them to take their e-billing system offline.
Clarification: The SeattleIT referred to herein is the city’s IT department, not the private consulting company that calls itself “SeattleIT.” The latter has no connection to the NCIS system or this story. My apologies for any issues this causes them.
A spokesperson for SeattleIT told me in email this afternoon:
We are continuing to review coding issues relating to our third-party managed online e-billing system. Last week’s matter has been addressed, and we are now working on further coding that relates to electronic bill generation and online display through the e-billing system. The issue relates to customers potentially being shown bills that did not belong to them.
The City took the online e-billing system offline Monday night around 7 p.m. The service is now back online and available to customers this afternoon.
We continue to look at ways to enhance this billing service and third-party coding review processes.
This is hardly a satisfying explanation of what happened, and doesn’t touch at all why the city kept the issue under wraps for over 24 hours. I have asked a follow-up set of questions and will post an update when I get answers.