7 On Your Side: "Estimated" Electric Bill Leaves East Texan With $1400+ Balance - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/10/06-Tyler

7 On Your Side: "Estimated" Electric Bill Leaves East Texan With $1400+ Balance

  Tamika Ervin of Tyler is a Green Mountain Energy customer, one of the many electric providers she learned about on the "Power to Choose" website.
  When she received her latest bill for $1,428.41 ,"That's why I called [Green Mountain]. I said I think there's a typo on here," she says laughing in disbelief.
  All jokes aside, her Green Mountain bill says she used at least 6,548 kwh in the 1800 square foot home she shares with a roommate. "I'd have to turn everything on in this house borrow a few things to plug in and I still couldn't do that," says Ervin.
  But Green Mountain officials say the two months prior, her bills were "estimated." That means the TXU meter reader could not gain access to her meter and had to estimate the amount she used.
  The company is completely within their rights to do that. But 7 On Your Side learned "service providers" like Green Mountain must also abide by the following guidelines according to the Public Utility Commission: The rules and laws say in Section 25.28: "In months where the meter reader is unable to gain access to the premises to read the meter...the electric utility must provide the customer with a postcard and request the customer to read the meter and return the card to the electric utility." Green Mountain says that's not their responsibility it's TXU electric delivery's, who reads their meters.
  Either way Ms. Ervin says, she's never received a postcard. The rules also say in Section 25.25: "the word 'estimated' must be prominently displayed to identify an estimated bill. Green Mountain says her two previous bills did say that. 
  "Who else is this happening to? This isn't right," says Ervin.
  Tamika says she was offered a payment plan but that wasn't good enough. She's taking her complaint even further, taking the case to the Public Utility Commission to determine who's right and who's wrong.
  Late Monday evening, Green Mountain issued a written statement. They say they "We will continue to work with Ms. Ervin and TXU to help determine why her reported usage may have been unexpectedly high for this period of time. "
  7 On Your Side plans on following up with the company to see if that happens. Another note, because Ms. Ervin filed a written complaint to the PUC, its laws says her service cannot be disconnected for non-payment until the commission completes its findings.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com 

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