Oncor: 1,827 overcharged after getting smart meters



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Posted on April 1, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 2 at 3:18 PM

DALLAS — Oncor said it always expected some installation errors with smart meters would lead to a small number of customers being overcharged, for the first time, the Dallas-based utility has announced that 1,827 customers were billed more than they should have after receiving smart meters.

The disclosure was made in testimony to the Texas Public Utility Commission in Austin on Thursday morning.

Oncor said 1,827 customers received bigger bills than they should have in the year since it began deploying smart meters.

The overbilling happened when installers misread the usage recorded on the dials of the old mechanical meters after installing the new ones, oncor spokesman Chris Schein said.

Some customers got charged for an extra 5,500 kilowatt hours or an additional $660 on their bills, based on $.12 per kWh rate, Schein added. The lowest extra charge was for $125 or 100 kWh.

The 1,827 overbilled customers is considerably fewer than Oncor had expected, Schien said. The utility originally estimated about one percent of its 780,000 installed smart meters to date might have been read incorrectly.

Between now and Monday, both Oncor and the retail electric providers will be calling customers explaining the error and offering a refund or credit.

Oncor has already said a communication error led 2,000 people to being underbilled.

E-mail: jwhitely@wfaa.com