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Old 05-15-2010, 10:54 AM
 
330 posts, read 1,276,902 times
Reputation: 265

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Interesting article on CNN. Someone in San Antonio wasn't getting billed by CPS for the electric portion of their bill, and CPS noticed recently, so they're now being billed for the full amount of missed payments via a payment plan.

On one hand I feel like they should have to pay, because I don't think a clerical mistake doesn't mean you should get free stuff. But also, it's a lot of money, and CPS did say they were paid up. I'm torn.

What do you think?

Texas family hit with $8,000 electric bill – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs

Part of story:
Quote:
Texas family hit with $8,000 electric bill

Talk about "sticker shock."

"When I saw it, I thought it was mistake," said Sandra Rubio upon receiving a whopping $8,000 energy bill. A few days later, she received a letter from CPS Energy telling her a clerical error had caused her to be underbilled for nearly five years.

The utility, owned by the city of San Antonio, Texas, apologized but said the mother of three would have to pay the bill in its entirety.

"It's gonna be real hard," said Rubio in an interview with CNN Radio. "My boyfriend is the only one in the home who works. There are days when it's slow and he doesn't work at all. I have to pay it back no matter what and I feel cheated."

The problem began when a new meter was installed at the Rubio home in 2005, according to Theresa Brown Cortez, a spokeswoman for CPS Energy. An office employee incorrectly entered a number, causing a multiplier to register as "0" instead of "1," she said.
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:06 AM
 
14,637 posts, read 32,353,227 times
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Write the office employee up for the mistake, and chalk it up to "cost of doing business." The end.

Last edited by sapphire; 05-15-2010 at 11:38 AM..
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Mid South Central TX
3,216 posts, read 7,832,520 times
Reputation: 2260
I would need to see the bill before passing judgment.

Was the bar graph showing electric consumption (12 month period) STILL showing the usuage, but there was no actual charge for it? More CPS's error...

OR, was the bar graph flat (all 0's)...then VERY noticable! Customer error!
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:18 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
6,770 posts, read 10,031,577 times
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Agree pobre!
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:15 PM
 
2,039 posts, read 5,133,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire View Post
Write the office employee up for the mistake, and chalk it up to "cost of doing business." The end.
Cost of doing business, profit and loss? Not the office employee... it happens to the best of us.....

Last edited by LovingSAT; 05-15-2010 at 12:16 PM.. Reason: Poor employee who made the error!
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:00 PM
RGJ
 
1,902 posts, read 4,237,298 times
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Here's a twist...When a non-profit that I was involved with discovered CPS had been charging sales tax for a number of years, CPS would only give credit for the last three years. CPS wants to go back five years to collect, but only three years for a credit?
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:32 PM
 
1,316 posts, read 3,153,569 times
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This is a tough one.

Let's see 8,000/5 years=1600 a year/12months=133.00 a month on average and the customer didn't notice anything out of the ordinary for five years when her bill was significantly lower than it should have been? I don't buy it. I think they knew they were not being charged for electricity and kept it hush-hush.

CPS made the billing mistake but the customer said nothing about their continuously low bill every month so both were at fault. I would call it even and cut the bill in half to 4,000 and allow them to make those payments over time (20.00 extra tacked on to the regular monthly bill).

The employee, if still employed should be fired. That's a lot of money of a mistake.

Last edited by xsa210tx; 05-15-2010 at 02:48 PM..
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Western Bexar County
3,823 posts, read 13,768,508 times
Reputation: 1937
I may be different, but I check my meter on the day it is supposed to be read, just to keep CPS honest. I started doing this several years ago when they seriously undercharged me for one month and I brought it to their attention and paid extra that month to cover the error. My only beef with CPS happened about a year ago when I paid on-line and one number of my account was wrong. I had to pay a $25 bad check fee and pay it in person that month. I also caught that error when I didn't see the charge come across my checking account and even talked to them about it but no budging on the fee after paying on-time for 19 years.

I have to grade CPS:

B+ for pricing
D- for catching errors and working with customer to fix it
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:03 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
8,399 posts, read 21,075,832 times
Reputation: 4435
I agree with xsa210tx, but I don't think they should split the bill. They still used the electricity, and are required to pay for it. A clerical error in billing doesn't negate that responsibility. About the only thing I believe CPS should do is give them a payment option, and not a lump sum!

When we lived in Belgium, all electricity payments were "estimates" based on the prior year's consumption but you had to actually adjust your payments as otherwise you could pay the same amount every month regardless of how much you used.

When we got there, everyone is warned about it; but some don't bother to monitor their consumption and when it comes to "balance out" when you leave it wasn't unheard of for people to have €1,000-€2,000 in outstanding charges.

If I recall correctly, we owed €25 or so as I always recorded the meter reading every month and adjusted our payments every year based on my calculations.

Depending on the size of your home, you should have a "ballpark" figure of how much electricity, water and gas (if you have it) you use. Heck, I think our monthly average is around $150, so if we had three years of $17 I sure as heck think there is something wrong!

Cheers! M2
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:13 PM
RGJ
 
1,902 posts, read 4,237,298 times
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The homeowner was bound to know the difference. They just thought it would never catch up with them. $150 a month is a pretty big bite out of an average electric bill.
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