Family without A/C for eight hours over Oncor mistake



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Posted on August 12, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 12 at 10:36 PM

DALLAS - As triple digit temperatures once again baked North Texas Thursday, an Arlington family's frustrations grew after an Oncor error left them without electricity during the heat of the day.

The utility said their meter didn't read right. But, since it didn't pose a safety risk, the family is wondering why Oncor disconnected their power.

It all started with two barking dogs and then cascaded into a mistake by Oncor, leaving Christina Mandujano hot.

"Oh yeah, really hot," she said. "I'm a really calm person and yesterday I was very upset."

Two weeks ago, Oncor left a letter saying it needed to fix their inaccurate electric meter out back but couldn't because of the family's dogs. Unless the Mandujanos called, the letter read, Oncor would disconnect them.

"We haven't stopped paying our bill," said Jorge Mandujano. "I don't think it's fair to turn it off because of two dogs."

The family said they phoned the company multiple times. Oncor admits their calls got lost in its system.

"We didn't do anything for this to happen," Mrs. Mandujano said. "It was their error that this happened."

Wednesday, the utility returned. As dogs barked, Oncor said they knocked at the door and called the Mandujano family. When no one answered or picked up the phone, they cut the power at the pole over the meter not reading correctly.

The Public Utility Commission doesn't allow electric companies to disconnect power when the area is under a heat advisory. Oncor apologized and admitted in this case, it shouldn't have happened the way it did.

"It clearly fell outside our normal policies, our normal practices and absolutely fell outside the way we want to treat our customers," said Chris Schein, an Oncor spokesman.

Oncor said it didn't violate law, but regrettably left the Mandujanos without air for eight hours in 100-degree heat.