Oncor Wants Customers to Pay for $93 Million Mistake

Oncor's mistake could cost Texans $93 million.

The company wants residential customers to foot the bill for smart digital meters that will be cycled out of use and that aren't up to state regulations.  Nearly 900,000 smart meters were bought before the state issued operating standards -- and officials said they are not in compliance.

A court ruling this week said the meters were bought prematurely and customers shouldn't cover the entire cost. Oncor thinks their customers should pay for the meters since the equipment was designed to help reduce utility costs for consumers.

All of the smart meters are currently in use and will be replaced with new meters that are in compliance if the cost of those meters can be recovered, said Catharine Cuellar, Oncor spokesperson.  Cuellar added that the first-generation smart meters will then be reallocated and used for other projects, such as city street lights, where meters do not require the same customer functionality.

Cueller added that the original meters were bought at the request of the state and that in order to fund the second-generation meters, the company needs to recover the cost of the first-generation meters as well.  If that cost cannot be recovered, Cueller said the original first-generation smart meters will continue to be used by customers at their residences.

Oncor has packaged the cost of the meters with a rate hike that is currently before the Public Utility Commission. The PUC is expected to have a final decision on who pays what later this year.

Earlier this year, Oncor began charging customers $2.21 per month for meters that meet state requirements -- regardless of whether or not they have received a new meter.

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