ElectriCities mistake means higher electric bills coming
by Staff Writer
by Josh Lanier
ElectriCities customers should expect a higher electric bill over the next several months as the cooperative works to recoup nearly $700,000 it lost because of a billing error.
Craig Norfolk, ElectriCities manager, said the cooperative undercharged residents in June, July, August and September of last year, and will add the difference to customers’ bills over the next four months.
ElectriCities charges more for electricity over the summer because it costs more to generate, Norfolk said.
The average bill – homeowners using between 1,100 to 1,200 kilowatt hours a month – should expect an increase of $10 to $25 each month through May. Customers who used more electricity will see higher increases.
Auditors noticed the billing discrepancy last month.
Homeowners should receive a letter this week explaining the mistake and how it will affect their bills. The company has reached out to its large commercial clients already and said its small business users should see no change in their bill.
“We’re very sorry for this mistake,” Norfolk told the Herald Weekly last week. “And we apologize for any hardship this causes anyone. We hope to work with our customers to correct this problem with as little impact to them as possible.”
ElectriCities has trained several customer service reps to field customer calls and complaints.
The mistake happened because ElectriCities operators did not manually factor in the higher summer rates into its billing system, Norfolk said. Several safeguards have now been put into place to keep this from happening again, he added.
The mistake cost ElectriCities $464,000 from its Huntersville customers and $222,000 from residents and large businesses in Cornelius.
ElectriCities manages the electric system for the two towns and sets its rates based on the price it costs to service its customers.
Want to call?
ElectriCities customers can speak with customer service representatives about payment options or discuss their bills by calling 704-948-0550.