LP&L admits former employee misread meter for two months - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

LP&L admits former employee misread meter for two months

Jerrod Harper, LP&L customer, had his meter misread two months in a row. (Source: KCBD Video) Jerrod Harper, LP&L customer, had his meter misread two months in a row. (Source: KCBD Video)
Matt Rose, spokesperson for LP&L (Source: KCBD Video) Matt Rose, spokesperson for LP&L (Source: KCBD Video)
Source: KCBD VIdeo Source: KCBD VIdeo

Have you checked your Lubbock Power and Light meter lately?

One customer created a social media firestorm after he found 'hundreds of dollars' worth of misreads on his meter.

"We have to make sure that we can have as accurate a meter reading process as possible, because everything in the chain of events that takes place before a customer gets their bill, begins with the meter reading process," said LP&L spokesperson, Matt Rose.

LP&L customer Jerrod Harper's meter was misread for two months in a row.

"It's almost a 5,000 kWh difference, which is not a small misread," he said.

Harper said he never checked his meter before, and thought the spike in his bill was due to an electrical issue.

"Maybe my A/C unit was messed up or something like that," he said. "I was checking the amps and everything was fine."

Harper tells us he called LP&L customer service several times, but said it was not until he posted a photo on Facebook showing the discrepancy that he finally got the utility company's attention.

"They weren't planning on anything," he said. "Do you think they would've sent the meter reader supervisor and the head of the PR out here, if it wasn't for my Facebook post?"

LP&L representative Matt Rose said this issue should not have happened.

"This meter was misread and it was misread by a meter reader, over - we know at least, a couple of months," Rose said.

Rose tells us it can be challenging to read certain meters.

"Meters from house to house are not necessarily going to be positioned in the same place," he said. "So, there's always a challenge in certain backyards as to getting a good read."

But, Rose explains, that was not the case here.

"In looking at this particular house, the meter was set back a little ways, but there's no reason why this meter should've been misread," he said.

LP&L said the national industry standard of misreads is 0.03 percent. Rose tells us meter readers are expected to stay within the standard.

"I understand human error," Harper said. "But human error only goes so far. I thought there was supposed to be some kind of system they had to kick back a ridiculous charge and apparently, mine just slipped through the cracks."

According to a 2013 interview, LP&L told KCBD the company has a software system that is supposed to catch any number that falls outside of a 15-percent range.

"In this case, the customer was misread over two months, but the variance in that was not greater enough to kick it out of the system," he said.

So, Rose tells us the electric company decided to take a deeper look into the issue.

"This [Thursday] morning, we did an audit of the reads in that neighborhood, because this particular meter reader that misread this meter over a two-month period, we wanted to make sure that there were other meters out there that were not having the same issue," he said.

"What we found from our audit is that the other reads in this particular neighborhood, specifically on this street, were all correct. But, unfortunately, this customer had his meter misread two months in a row and that's unacceptable."

Rose said Harper's home was the only meter misread within the particular meter reader's route.

So, we asked Rose if this meter reader was still out on the streets.

"He's no longer with the organization," Rose said.

Rose encourages all customers to check their meters to ensure this does not happen to them.

"I don't think anybody should have to check their meter, because you kind of trust people to do their job correctly," Harper said. "Every time I get my bill I'm going to go check my meter, just to make sure. And, I think everybody else should, too."

LP&L confirms that Jerrod Harper will have his bill corrected.

"We reached out to that customer, we're working with him, we're going to credit him back the amount that was incurred because of the misread and are going to continue to work with him over the coming months to make sure that that meter gets read accurately."

If you are unsure of how to check your meters, you can call LP&L for help at (806) 775-2509.

The utility company tells us they are working on getting new technology to ensure meters are read more accurately. They are hoping to work it into their budget for the next fiscal year. We'll be sure to keep you updated on that process as we learn more.

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