CPS Energy admits to overcharging customers with smart meters
SAN ANTONIO — CPS Energy admitted to overcharging customers who recently have had smart meters installed. The energy company said Monday it couldn’t rule this out if hundreds, possibly thousands more customers are also affected.
Angry customers packed a library meeting room Monday and let CPS have it.
“Ma’am, everyone in here is here for the same reason, you all over-estimated our bills,” said Don Jones. “We want to pay for what we used only. That’s it.”
“That’s called fraud,” yelled another man.
“Yes, it is,” said Jones. “The Texas Rangers should be called in on this.”
Most of the residents at the CPS meeting live in the Dell View area. Some said they paid twice, if not four times more what they would have normally paid this time of year.
When they met with CPS, it was hard to get a straight answer about the cause. Although CPS said it can’t be exactly sure, the company said a nationally accepted practice of estimating bills based on past usage was to blame.
“There were some underestimations in July, and when the system made the corrections, that’s what increased the August bill,” said Maria Garcia, the vice president of community engagement at CPS.
The energy company also couldn’t explain why some residents were not given the chance to opt out of smart meters. They can opt out now, but it will cost customers a replacement fee and $20 a month to have a real person read their meter.
It’s a price some, like Grace Ramos, are willing to pay. “I would like to have the smart meter taken off of my property,” said Ramos.
CPS said it is “researching” the problem and is willing to go back and look at customer bills and correct them.
“As we replaced the meter, there are pictures taken of the consumption and we can use that information to correct the bill of necessary,” said Garcia.