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Old 05-17-2010, 01:12 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,142 posts, read 11,454,324 times
Reputation: 2505

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Doesn't CPS check the meter in person every month? In the article, it talks about how there's a 0 or 1 on the meter, etc.

No one knows all the facts, she could have been paying $250/month on average and thought it was reasonable and the bill was supposed to be $350/month instead.
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:12 PM
Status: "just keep scrolling then?" (set 22 days ago)
 
14,616 posts, read 31,159,617 times
Reputation: 6656
Quote:
Originally Posted by KordovaJD View Post
Agreed, this should be absorbed by CPS. The monthly bill as it was over the last 5 years should serve as having closed the account. Can't go back now.
And your profile says you are an attorney, so thanks for backing me up. Do I think it's right that she got free electricity for 5 years? Not particularly. There is just so much venom on this forum if someone feels someone is getting away with something. It's laughable. Let it go.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:02 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
8,400 posts, read 20,121,491 times
Reputation: 4435
Quote:
Originally Posted by KordovaJD View Post
Agreed, this should be absorbed by CPS. The monthly bill as it was over the last 5 years should serve as having closed the account. Can't go back now.
Really? Can you state the law that states that? Is there some sort of "statue of limitations?" Would it negate every penny of her bill, not just the charges from five years ago but up until the error was discovered?

By the way, "absorbed" means you, me and every other CPS customer pays her bill. Electricity isn't free, and if she doesn't pay for it, the rest of us do! It pathetic that anyone would expect CPS or any other service provider to "absorb" this much money. And why should they, they upheld their end of the agreement and provided her the electricity. Since she can't give it back, she's required to pay for it. Simple as that...
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Texas
575 posts, read 1,260,464 times
Reputation: 527
This lady had to of known she was getting free electricity and not paying for it. Her bill went lower and it seems like she did nothing about it. I think she should have to pay half of it back then CPS should knock off half of her bill for their error. How do you miss an error that big? Yeah CPS has tons of customers but someone should of noticed. At least now they figured it out and she's not getting free electricity anymore.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:17 PM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
6,259 posts, read 8,999,975 times
Reputation: 6347
Sorry - but her lack of attention isn't negated by CPS's honest error. As I've said - they only want to give credit back 36 months - so only going back 36 months on an error in THEIR favor is only fair.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Deerfield
59 posts, read 133,499 times
Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by majormadmax View Post
Really? Can you state the law that states that? Is there some sort of "statue of limitations?" Would it negate every penny of her bill, not just the charges from five years ago but up until the error was discovered?
Honestly, it's common law torts/contract law. You can't always be held responsible for something until you are aware of the problem. CPS couldn't hold her responsible for not paying her electric bill until she reasonably should have known that there was an error. I think that at best should could only expect to get the amount of 1-2 months worth of the bill taken off the total. After 2 or so months an electric subscriber should have reasonably known that something was wrong when their bill came back as zero dollars. One month, maybe two, max.
I tend to believe, and this is what I would offer if I were her, is to pay half, or some other discounted amount. While yes, she should have known better, it was still CPS's fault originally, and they allowed it go on for so long. She's probably still guilty of theft of service, unless she can prove she's mentally deficient.
But, you know, if someone send me a check for $100 for no reason, and I cash it, I'm not stealing. If someone sends me a check for $100 and they say it's for a product rebate for a product I didn't buy, then I am probably stealing if I cash it. It all depends on what she knew. I am not sure anyone could have honestly believed electricity is free. She did set up the account originally.
As for it being absorbed, it would most likely be written off as bad debt on the CPS books and would not actually cause $8000 worth of increase in the average persons bill, pro rata of course. It may cost only pennies.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Deerfield
59 posts, read 133,499 times
Reputation: 45
I took a few minutes this afternoon to research this. The below is an excerpt from the Public Utility Commision of Texas rules pertaining to electric service providers as they pertain to customer protection

Quote:
Section 25.28(d)(1)
(d) Underbilling. If charges are found to be lower than authorized by the utility's tariffs, or if the electric
utility failed to bill the customer for service, then the customer's bill may be corrected.
(1) The electric utility may backbill the customer for the amount that was underbilled. The
backbilling shall not collect charges that extend more than six months from the date the error was
discovered unless the underbilling is a result of theft of service by the customer.
The code goes on to state at section 25.28(d)(4)
Quote:
section 25.28(d)(4)
(4) The utility shall not charge interest on underbilled amounts unless such amounts are found to be
the result of theft of service (meter tampering, bypass, or diversion) by the customer, as defined
in 25.126 of this title. Interest on underbilled amounts shall be compounded monthly at the
annual rate and shall accrue from the day the customer is found to have first stolen (tampered,
bypassed or diverted) the service.
Here they have defined theft of service as "meter tampering, bypass, or diversion". It doesn't seem that the above definition is congruous with the actions of the customs here, which I could only describe as "being a moron".

I am not sure she should pay this unfortunately. I am not an administrative lawyer, so I can't be sure. This is a little outside of my practice area, but the code seems to prevent CPS from billing her for more than 6 months, which at what seems to be the average rate of the $8000 bill (@$133.33/month), she may only be responsible for $799.98.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:26 PM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
6,259 posts, read 8,999,975 times
Reputation: 6347
And if that's in the PUC code, then I'm fine w/that as well. As I said from the get-go - this isn't about being punitive, but fair. In my mind, she owed it all - but when someone pointed out that CPS would only go back 36 months on an erroneous bill where THEY overcharged, then I said that should be the max they should pursue there (what's fair on one hand is fair on the other).
Having found THAT section in the PUC code - then yeah - CPS SHOULD suck it up.
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:00 PM
 
3,142 posts, read 5,168,387 times
Reputation: 1748
It's always been my understanding that CPS Energy, as municapal-owned utility, is not regulated by the State PUC. They are regulated by the City.
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Western Bexar County
3,823 posts, read 13,354,285 times
Reputation: 1905
Quote:
Originally Posted by ged_782 View Post
It's always been my understanding that CPS Energy, as municapal-owned utility, is not regulated by the State PUC. They are regulated by the City.
CPS, and all others utilities and telecommunications in Texas are definitely regulated by the Texas PUC:

PUCT - Rules and Laws - Substantive Rules - Electric - Chapter 25 - Index
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