Provided by LP&L
The Lubbock Power & Light Electric Utility Board convened a special called meeting in order to deliberate and decide on a plan of action regarding the computer system error that caused customers in the first ten billing cycles of June to receive bills with artificially low rates. The Electric Utility Board voted in favor of collecting the revenue left off the June bills for those affected customers over a six month period beginning on October 1, 2013.
"For the customers who fell within the first ten billing cycles in June, they were charged an artificially low fuel cost, as compared customers who were correctly billed in cycles 11 through 22," said Matt Rose, LP&L spokesperson. "The Electric Utility Board weighed the options presented before them and chose a course of action that is both reasonable and responsible to all parties involved.
"The Electric Utility Board took a course of action that will ensure all customers are charged equally for the month of June while not punishing those customers who received artificially low bills as a result of a computer system error that occurred by no fault of their own. Customers affected received a June bill with a fuel cost adjustment equaling approximately $0.03 instead of an accurate billing of approximately $0.07. On average, this miscalculation caused bills to be $66 less than they should have been. The plan will catch those customers up in the system by dividing the cost evenly over six months starting in October."
The decision by the Electric Utility Board came after a lengthy public presentation by the consultants of J. Stowe and Co; the company hired by LP&L this past fall to construct the rate design and cost of service model approved for implementation June 1. Analyst for the electric utility predict the move to recoup the cost over a six month period this Fall should have a positive effect on lowering the fuel cost adjustment for all customers on their August bills.
To ensure the electric utility has the appropriate tools necessary to safeguard against future software issues, the Electric Utility Board directed an internal investigation to find the root cause of the computer system error. In addition to the investigation, the Board directed staff to assemble a team of four veteran customer service specialists work with those affected by billing issues. LP&L customers affected by the computer billing error will be contacted by the utility to inform them of how this process will move forward.
"The Electric Utility Board wants to make certain that all customers affected by this billing error are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as the electric utility works through this process," Rose said. "A team of customer service specialists will be tasked with focusing solely on addressing customer questions and concerns to ensure all issues have been effectively alleviated and a system is put in place to safeguard against any future issues. LP&L deeply regrets this unfortunate error and will work diligently to implement the actions approved by the Board."