KSAT Defenders Consumer Watch: CPS Energy customers complain of high bills, estimated readings

CPS claims utility usually underestimates as opposed to overestimate

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter, bmylar@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:00:01 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 30 2013 03:42:27 AM CST
cps energy bill complaint

Some CPS Energy customers are complaining about their latest bills shooting up and wondering if the utility is doing faulty estimates instead of reading their meters.

The weather has been balmy for much of the past month, so when Stephanie Fiebrink got her latest bill from CPS Energy, she was stunned. "This month I got my bill and it was $156," Fiebrink said.

She suffers from many disabilities and lives in a two bedroom apartment. She also budgets her money carefully and did not plan on that big of a bill.

She acknowledges that there were 35 days in that billing period, but said there were 34 days on the November billing period and that bill was $120.71. She also said she hardly uses the heat.

"We turned on the heat one day and that was when we were having that major freeze and we keep (the thermostat) at 50," Fiebrink said.

K. Gonzales also sent an email to the KSAT Defenders complaining about the most recent CPS Energy bill. 

Gonzales wrote: “My usual CPS bill is $80 a month and for the past two they bill in the $300s.”

Both complainants also said CPS Energy told them that their bills were estimated and that the meters were not actually read.

They say if that is the case, the utility is lazy and wrong. The KSAT Defenders went to CPS to get some answers.

Lisa Lewis is Vice President of Corporate Communications. "We do estimate bills at times," Lewis said.

Lewis said the estimation is usually based on the previous month's bill and that CPS Energy tries to underestimate the bill.

"We usually underestimate as opposed to overestimate so ideally we don't overcharge you initially and then have to correct," Lewis said.

She said actual meter readings later will clear up any differences. For people like Stephanie Fiebrink, she recommends the budget payment plan, which evens out payments throughout the year.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.