Blame Weather, Not Smart Meters for High Bills: Oncor

Residents of Irving apartment complex see more expensive power bills

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 6:57 PM CDT
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Equipment Change Blamed for Higher Energy Bills

The recent cold weather has some North Texans seeing red over rising electric bills.

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Equipment Change Blamed for Higher Energy Bills

The recent cold snap has a lot of people seeing red over their electric bills and many customers believe there is something more than the weather to blame for skyrocketing energy costs in Irving.
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The recent cold weather has some North Texans seeing red over rising electric bills.

But some customers said are blaming new digital power meters for their increased electricity expenses.

The management of an Irving apartment complex said it saw a rash of tenant complaints about abruptly rising power bills after Oncor Electric Delivery installed smart meters.

Resident Mike Triana said his last bill was three times as previous bills.

“I’ve talked to homeowners who aren’t paying nearly as much as I am for an 822-square-foot apartment,” he said.

Oncor said it changed the complex's old analog meters to new digital meters on Dec. 5.

But company spokeswoman Jeamy Molina said the meters were not to blame for higher bills.

“A month later, we went out to test the meters to make sure that everything was working properly, and they were,” she said.

Triana said he doesn't buy Oncor's explanation.

Molina said January bills could be even higher because of record Texas winter electric usage during the end of this winter's cold snap.

“A lot of people aren’t used to seeing that high a bill during these months, but it’s been a lot colder, and it’s just something that they’re going to see," she said.

During the cold snap earlier this month, Oncor recommended that customers turn their thermostats down to 68 degrees to keep their electric bill down and conserve energy.

In other cases, billing mistakes have been found in the switch to digital meters.

Molina said Oncor welcomes customers to question the company’s readings and to contact their retail electric provider about billing questions.

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