Realtor Sounds Billing Alarm Over Smart Meters

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Friday, Nov 20, 2009  |  Updated 7:50 PM CDT
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Smart Meters Leave Some With Skyrocketing Bills

NBCDFW.com

Electric distributor Oncor is installing millions of the new meters throughout North Texas during the next few years.

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Smart Meters Leave Some With Skyrocketing Bills

A Realtor says she's noticed billing mistakes connected to the meter exchange.
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A Mesquite Realtor said she has noticed large billing mistakes connected to the meter exchange occurring throughout North Texas.

Noreen Jones said she discovered problems with the electric bills of at least six of the properties she manages. The problems coincided with the exchange of old analog electric meters to new digital “smart meters.”

Electric distributor Oncor is installing millions of the new meters throughout North Texas during the next few years.

“I’ve talked to other people as well, and they’re also having issue,” Jones said.

One vacant home suddenly recorded 9,953 kilowatt hours of electric use in just a few days. But the staggering $1,902 bill arrived months later.

She received an $875 bill for electric usage at another home months after she had canceled the account.

“In these two cases, there was just a human error,” Oncor spokeswoman Carol Peters said. “The technician who was exchanging the meter misread the older meter and gave an incorrect reading.”

Oncor provides usage data to retail electric companies that send out the bills. Jones' retail provider is TXU.

In two cases, Jones received letters from TXU that said, “We experienced an issue that prevented your account from billing for the past several months.”

“But they expect you to pay several months of billing within two weeks,” Jones said.

Sophia Stoler, a TXU spokeswoman, said the company is now investigating why bills were not sent for months at a time.

“The meter switch could have triggered the error,” she said.

Both companies promised to correct all of the errors and blamed human error in the meter exchange, not the meters themselves.

But Jones suggested that other customers should also review their bills.

“I scrutinize it, and I can also make a comparison," she said. "Whereas if you’re a homeowner, you’ve got one bill.”

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