By Tom Mustin
DENVER (CBS4)– “This is a mistake. This can’t be accurate,” said Xcel Energy customer Michelle, who didn’t want to use her last name after a dispute with the company over her utility bill.
“It went up almost five times the previous bill,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
In August, Xcel crews installed a new meter at Michelle’s home in Denver. The device sends meter readings to Xcel though radio waves.
Michelle’s bill for August arrived, showing an increase from $42 to more than $180.
“If I’m barely using my electricity now, and it’s almost $200, what will it be like in December and January?” asked Michelle.
For 20 years Michelle has lived in her home and she says she’s been a model customer, “I have never been late and I’ve never missed a bill.”
Michelle’s monthly bill averages about $50 a month. She can’t afford any more. Michelle told us she called Xcel and was told nothing was wrong with the bill and she needed to pay the invoice.
“The specialist was arguing with me and I didn’t know what to do so I called you,” said Michelle.
CBS4’s Tom Mustin contacted Xcel. After looking at the case they admitted mistakes had been made.
“It does look like there is an error,” said Xcel Spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo.
She explained what happened, “The radio signal quit transmitting a signal… and that happens.”
“So how did the bill end up five times higher?” asked CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
Aguayo replied, “Again a misreading. something. whether with a machine or human error, we’re still determining.”
Xcel says they’ll make it right.
“This will get worked out. Yes,” Aguayo told Mustin.
Now with a new bill on the way, Michelle says she has a new lease on life, and one small request, “I’d like a meter that actually works.”
Customers with questions about their Xcel Energy bill or meter are asked to contact Xcel Energy.