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Texas family hit with $8,000 electric bill

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posted on May, 15 2010 @ 09:50 AM
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Texas family hit with $8,000 electric bill


news.blogs.cnn.com

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
(visit the link for the full news article)



+1 more 
posted on May, 15 2010 @ 09:50 AM
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This is just ridiculous.

The company made a mistake, and now the family is left holding the bill?

This isn't right.

They should not be allowed to do this. This is their mistake, they should have billed them properly over the past 5 years.

Now they are left with paying 8K in bills with no way out.


"We don't know how to calculate those numbers and what those numbers mean," she said. "You trust that whatever they send you, whatever that amount is, that's your bill."


The next proble, trying to figure out if you actually owe them this money or if they are just trying to squeeze more cash out of you.

Thoughts ATS?

news.blogs.cnn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 09:54 AM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


If they actually owe the money , they should be able to let them pay it in

payments , over a certain time period.

If the error was the other way, they overpaid 8,000., you certainly would

want to be reembursed.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 09:58 AM
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Originally posted by Sean48
reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


If they actually owe the money , they should be able to let them pay it in

payments , over a certain time period.

If the error was the other way, they overpaid 8,000., you certainly would

want to be reembursed.


I bet if it was the other way, they would have NEVER told them they were overpaying.

I certainly hope it's over payments, and not one lump sum. Still stealing as far as I am concerned. How can they prove without a doubt to this family that they owe them the money?

There should be a statute of limitations against this sort of thing.

~Keeper

[edit on 5/15/2010 by tothetenthpower]



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 09:58 AM
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How does an error like that go unchecked for five years? How the heck did they find this "error"? It wasn't subject to anyone else? It is partially their fault and I think they should split the bill, it wasn't the family's fault entirely. At the very least there needs to be a payment plan set up.


+1 more 
posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by Sean48
 


Any lawyer in the area worth a grain of salt would take this pro-bono. Might require all of 2 hours of "billed" work to resolve. I just had something similar happen with my county clerk here who deemed to inform me that a judgement and lein was placed against me in 1997 in the sum of 600$ with no notification and I have been to that office numerous times in the past with nothing said about it till last week. Amazingly there is no courtcase attached to the judgement. hmmm. Me-thinks these agencies are getting hard up for money and making things up hoping to catch a few suckers.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:05 AM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


This woman has to have known something was wrong, over a 5 year period. Tell me she had no idea what her neighbors normally pay. When you live in any neighborhood for this length of time, the discussion of utility bills will come up with the neighbors.

$8,ooo seems a little excessive for five years, though. Heck, did she run every electric appliance in her home non stop for that period of time?

Having worked for an electric company for years, which might make me biased, I wonder how they can exactly determine what her usage might have been. Is the electric company doing and estimated read for 5 years?

I don't think she should have to pay the whole amount in a one lump sum, she should have to pay a flat fee for the past usage that is affordable to her, considering the huge mistake of the electric company.

They will get their money, sooner or later. They waited this long to collect on this woman, so they should wait that long for her to pay it back.

If she used it, sorry to say, she should pay the bill.


+5 more 
posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:05 AM
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From a customer service stand point, the company should be taking that $8000 out of their accountants pocket, or billing persons pocket, or simply eat the cost and realize YOU screwed up. This is obviously a long time customer who paid her bills and never had an issue....so do the right thing!!!

Now of course if they MUST go after the money...first they need to send the person a notice or contact them via phone and explain what is GOING to happen and why, not just throw a bill on them. Then logically...if the company screwed up over a five year period to get to an $8000 bill...then the customer should have fiver years to pay it back.


+4 more 
posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:08 AM
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reply to post by Blanca Rose
 


I don't discuss my finances or my bill with my neighboors, but that's just me.

As for usage, 8K in 5 years of "underbill" is a bit much, considering the article states she was paying about 3 or 4 hundred a month to begin with.

~Keeper



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:12 AM
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I live in the DFW area and the utility companies are in the process of installing new "smart" meters that can be remotely accessed, so as to cut out the necessity of meter readers. I don't know if this story is related to that; however, there has been a lot of stuff in the local news about folks getting outrageous electric bills lately.

At first, the utility companies took the stance that the new meters were accurate and that, prior to the installation of the new meters, these people had been getting reduced bills because of old, outdated, inaccurate meters. This went back and forth as it played out in the news. Finally, the City of Dallas demanded that a independent company step in and conduct tests on the smart meters. Turns out that the smart meters aren't so smart after all.

Allegedly, there is a "fix" in the works and those with outrageous bills will be charged based upon historical usage until the problem is solved. My neighborhood is slated for installation of the new meters in 2012. They had better figure out the problem and fix it before then, as my electric bill is already $300+ per month....on a low usage month.

The worst thing that ever happened to us Texans was the deregulation of utilities, which was suppose to welcome healthy competition and drive down prices...it did the exact opposite. I'm convinced that there is some price fixing going on here, as electric prices have tripled since then.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:15 AM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower


I don't discuss my finances or my bill with my neighboors, but that's just me.


Well, being a single parent for many years, and watching my pennies, I did. I wanted to make sure I wasn't being over billed! Heck, if your bills are way higher than the neighbor, who has the same size house, you might be able to figure out that something is wrong with your air conditioner, or heater. We would discuss these issues at block parties, or on Saturday, when everyone was out mowing their lawns. We had a close knit neighborhood, one guy would bring out a pitcher of margaritas to all the neighbors who were out doing yard work. I miss those days, when everyone knew everyone! I did not get a discount on my electrical service, for working at the electric company! Hell no, I had to be the one that carried the emergency number on my days off, to alert the on call guys of any power outages........YUCK!


As for usage, 8K in 5 years of "underbill" is a bit much, considering the article states she was paying about 3 or 4 hundred a month to begin with.


No kidding....those charges were for other items. Like I said before, she must have been running every electrical appliance in her house, non-stop!



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:19 AM
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wow, the company screws up, makes the customer pay for THEIR mistake, and on top of all that, she has to pay for the monthly too!

there should be a law against this! god i empathize with the woman, and she should take this to the court. it was the companies fault, not hers.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:21 AM
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What is the limit on this sort of thing?

What is to prevent companies from going back 20 years or so to check to see if you owe any money?

To go back five years is a little extreme.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:22 AM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower
reply to post by Blanca Rose
 


I don't discuss my finances or my bill with my neighboors, but that's just me.

As for usage, 8K in 5 years of "underbill" is a bit much, considering the article states she was paying about 3 or 4 hundred a month to begin with.

~Keeper


No she was paying zero a month for electric service, only base charges for gas and electric, and for gas service. She was never billed ANYTHING for electric service since her new meter was installed:


Rubio was billed for gas consumption, as well as base charges for having gas and electric service, she said. However, she wasn't billed at all for electric consumption.


She must be functionally illiterate to be unable to look at the bill and see she wasn't being charged for electric service. So she does bear some responsibility. It's kind of like if the bank accidentally deposits 10 grand into your account, just because they made an error, doesn't entitle you to keep the money.

And they are giving her 7 years to pay back the billing they never charged her for during the 5 years. So the repayment arrangement seems fair enough.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:23 AM
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reply to post by LocoHombre
 


Even if the company made a mistake, she still used the service.

Oh well, no problem. Your local electric company will be more than happy to pass on this kind of a mistake on to all their customers to recoup the money for this mistake. They do that sort of thing, ya know.

So, should she pay the bill, or should all the other customers have to pitch in to do so?



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:25 AM
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Originally posted by nixie_nox
What is the limit on this sort of thing?

What is to prevent companies from going back 20 years or so to check to see if you owe any money?

To go back five years is a little extreme.


I'm not sure; however, I overpaid on my property tax for 8 years. When I caught the error, I went to get reimbursed. I got 5 years worth paid back to me, but was told that the statute of limitations ends there, so they basically stole 3 years worth of over payments from me...and it was their clerical mistake, not mine.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
reply to post by LocoHombre
 


Even if the company made a mistake, she still used the service.




Yeah, but if she had known what her ACTUAL cost was, perhaps she would have not used so much electricity. I know that I have cut back on the use of electricity, so as to keep it within my budget.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


I have a strong hunch... that if it were just she and the kids struggling... and she didn't have a live-in boyfriend... who's probably drinking and doing drugs... this would have never come to light.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by tothetenthpower
 


sadly this can and does happen. i used to work for an electricity provider. in this case it's usually the poles and wires company that is at blame here. the provider can probably set them up on a payment plan but the thing is if they are late on one single payment they will forfeit the entire plan.

it's a total donkey show. literally NOONE will care about this lady and her case will go unnoticed unless she sues. which she should. the P&W company ONCOR for the DFW area got the pants sued off of them for things like this and having high priority reconnect fees. now they only charge $17 instead of $97.



posted on May, 15 2010 @ 10:37 AM
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reply to post by Hedera Helix
 


I may regret asking this, but what does the live-in boyfriend have to do with it?

Are you saying the power company would have just looked the other way when they discovered the clerical error if she didn't have a live-in boyfriend? And did they even know that he was living there?



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