Colorado Springs Utilities says the cost of providing interpreters for non-English speaking customers last year is higher than originally reported.
The city-owned utility made the mistake because it was in a hurry to provide the information, a spokesman said today.
“As we hurried to provide the information to Mr. (Tony) Carpenter, we did not double check the original number. Seeing the error, we let Mr. Carpenter know at around noon on Friday that the correct amount is $65,156,” Dave Grossman said in an e-mail.
“The interpreter provided 42,902 minutes of service in 2010,” he said.
Initially, Grossman said the average cost was $1.52 per call. But the cost is actually $1.52 per minute.
“We are sorry for all the confusion,” he said in a follow-up e-mail.
Grossman said Utilities believes that the interpreter service is a much cheaper way to provide service to customers who do not speak English than hiring full-time employees who speak multiple languages.
“As a municipally-owned utility, we have an obligation to serve all customers in our service area,” he said.
“Without the ability to communicate to customers, we would not be able set up service and billing, and we would not have a way to provide safety information such as carbon monoxide dangers. The interpreter service avoids us having to hire multiple full time customer service personnel with the ability to speak multiple languages,” he said.