Earlier this month, we heard from dozens of consumers who were angry over their high Atmos Energy bills. One woman’s bill went from $50 to $500 in just one month.
Some consumers argued that the company’s estimated billing practices were to blame.
The company is now admitting to NBC 5 that estimating during cold weather months "did not provide the excellent customer service that we strive to provide."
This won’t be news to Ashley Hine. She questioned Atmos’ estimated billing system all along.
Earlier this year, she told us her bill nearly tripled. "You‘re not going to try to screw me," she said.
When we first brought her concerns to Atmos Energy, the company said weather was to blame.
Atmos told us, "consumption last year vs. this year would be vastly different as the colder the temperature is outside the harder the heating appliance must work to maintain the warmer temperature inside the home… More than likely, a customer who saw a larger bill in February were estimated too low in January… and that usage then caught up in February."
"That can’t triple my bill. It just can’t happen," said Hine.
She wasn’t the only consumer who wasn’t buying Atmos’ response.
We’ve heard from dozens of consumers whose bills had skyrocketed, some demanding that Atmos do away with its estimated billing system altogether, claiming it wasn’t accurate.
Those consumers may have gotten their wish, sort of.
Atmos is now telling us they will no longer estimate during the heating season moving forward.
At a recent Dallas City Council meeting, Atmos' CEO Michael Haefner said Atmos made the decision to discontinue estimated billing for winter months in the future after bills spiked this winter with higher than expected usage.
“We tried winter estimation. It did not work. Certainly didn’t work as we had hoped and we are changing course,” said Haefner.
Moving forward, Atmos will not estimate in November through April.
Consumers like Ashley Hine see this move as a win for Atmos customers.
Atmos tells us that estimating is one of the many ways that they can help keep customers’ bills lower by minimizing the labor associated with reading meters. But there is never a month that all of their customer’s bills are estimated.
For customer’s who are questioning the accuracy of their bill, you can call Atmos at 888-286-6700 or click here.