Hundreds of thousands of electric customers have received double billings or experienced other hiccups in their normal monthly billing patterns as a result of a major computer software problem experienced by Dallas-based Oncor Electric Delivery.
Oncor spokeswoman Megan Wright said today that the problem occurred in the period from July 19-29, resulting in Oncor significantly delaying the transfer of electricity consumption data from meter readings to retail electric providers, or REPs, that have customers in Oncor’s sprawling service territory.
“As soon as we realized there was a problem, we started communicating with retailers during those 10 days...we have fixed the problem now, so there won’t be any more problems,” Wright said.
TXU Energy, the largest REP in North Texas, had “many” affected customers, numbering in the thousands, TXU spokesman Michael Patterson said today.
The bulk of affected customers received a double billing—“one bill for two months of consumption,” Patterson said.
The double billings were done because TXU belatedly received meter data from Oncor regarding electricity consumption by individual customers, Patterson said.
“We can’t bill them until we get a (meter) read,” he said.
Patterson said that while “thousands” of TXU customers were affected, he was unable to provide a more-specific number.
Oncor spokesman Chris Schein estimated late this afternoon that roughly 10 percent of retail electric customers throughout Oncor’s service territory were impacted by the company’s problem, which happened as a result of a glitch in upgrading software.
That would mean several hundred thousand customers affected, because Oncor has about 3.3 million meters in its service territory. If 10 percent were affected, that would be 330,000 metered customers.
Oncor is the major electric transmission and distribution company for North Texas and also serves substantial chunks of East, West and Central Texas.
“We apologize for any inconvenience it has caused to customers,” Wright said.
Patterson said TXU “will work with” customers who might have difficulty paying their electric bill as a result of receiving a double billing or some other variation in their normal billing as a result of Oncor’s problem.
TXU customers who experience “any hardship” in paying their bills can contact TXU toll-free at 1-800-242-9113Ö, Patterson said .
Some retail electric providers were late in sending out bills in July as a result of the Oncor problem, but issued bills at the regular time this month, resulting in customers receiving bills only about two weeks apart.
--Jack Z. Smith