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Lubbock Power & Light Releases Statement Concerning June “Under-Billing”

 

LP&L

Numerous citizens, business owners and Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson have expressed their displeasure at the drastic increase in July bills for Lubbock Power & Light electric customers.

Late Thursday, LP&L released a statement stating some customers were under-billed for electricity on their June bill.

“Historically, the largest increase an electric customer will see all year occurs from May to June,” said Matt Rose, LP&L spokesman. “For those customers who were incorrectly billed during the first part of June, their electric bills were about the same or lower than their May bills.  Therefore, when those customers got their July electric bill, which had the 9.5 percent rate increase, it looked like the rate increase was much higher.”

Rose gives LP&L’s explanation on what caused the error, “During the migration to our summer rates, LP&L’s computer system billed some customers at the lower winter rate. We deeply regret this unfortunate error and apologize for any inconvenience.

“The error, which was caught by our internal audit system, caused customers to be billed at the lower, winter rate fuel rate, rather than the higher summer rate fuel.  We have corrected the problem and will work with our affected customers to minimize its impact.”

According to LP&L, the LP&L Electric Utility Board will meet as soon as possible to discuss how to address those customers who were under-billed for the first two weeks in June.  LP&L is asking affected customers to call LP&L customer service at (806) 775-2509.

Ariel Walden, KFYO.com

Meanwhile, Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson is not happy with this week’s LP&L news and he told KFYO News Thursday afternoon what he plans on doing, “If the Electric Utility Board does not take action by Monday afternoon or at least announce a special meeting to address this issue and try to determine what to do, then I’m going to call a Special City Council meeting.

“We’ll have one agenda item on it. It will be to consider and take action on the possibility of removing the rate increase instituted last month until October 1.”

Mayor Robertson will discuss the LP&L issue Friday morning at 7:45a during Lubbock’s First News with Tom Collins & Laura Mac.

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You can read LP&L’s complete statement below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                            

THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013

LP&L FINDS A PORTION OF JUNE CUSTOMERS BILLED AT ARTIFICIALLY LOW RATES; Utility Working to Address Those Customers Who Were Incorrectly Billed. 

LUBBOCK, Texas – Lubbock Power & Light recently uncovered a computer system error that caused approximately 44,000 utility customers to be incorrectly billed last month.  The error, which was identified and corrected by LP&L staff, affected customers who were billed during the first half of June.

“During the migration to our summer rates, LP&L’s computer system billed some customers at the lower winter rate,” said Matt Rose, LP&L spokesman.  “We deeply regret this unfortunate error and apologize for any inconvenience.

“The error, which was caught by our internal audit system, caused customers to be billed at the lower, winter rate fuel rate, rather than the higher summer rate fuel.  We have corrected the problem and will work with our affected customers to minimize its impact.”

In February, LP&L migrated to a new billing software. Extensive testing was conducted on the software to check for any potential errors within the system.  The software went live at the end of February but continual testing took place throughout the spring months to monitor for any potential errors.

When the system converted from winter to summer rates June 1, some of the more than 1,000 factors within the system reverted to winter rate settings.  Customers billed in the first 10 cycles of June received bills with an artificially low fuel cost adjustment.  LP&L has 22 billing cycles per month.  By the 10th billing cycle of June, LP&L analysts discovered and corrected the system error.

Given how the computer billing system operates, analysts were required to wait until July to access how the error affected the system.  By Wednesday July 17, LP&L determined the error affected 44,000 customers in the first 10 billing cycles in June.

“Historically, the largest increase an electric customer will see all year occurs from May to June,” Rose said. “For those customers who were incorrectly billed during the first part of June, their electric bills were about the same or lower than their May bills.  Therefore, when those customers got their July electric bill, which had the 9.5 percent rate increase, it looked like the rate increase was much higher.”

The LP&L Electric Utility Board will meet as soon as possible to discuss how to address those customers who were under-billed for the first two weeks in June.  For any customer who feels they were incorrectly billed, please call LP&L customer service at (806) 775-2509.

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