DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The CEO of Atmos Energy says the company will not estimate bills next winter, because it “didn’t work” this past winter.
“We tried winter estimation — it did not work,” said Michael Haefner. The move comes two days after a Consumer Justice investigation into skyrocketing bills.
Dozens of customers told CBS 11 News that their bills had spiked, even though their usage had not changed. Many were hit with $400-$600 bills. All of them said the surprise bills came after a month of estimated usage. Hundreds more customers came forward with similar stories after the investigation aired.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from customers,” Jennifer Altieri told reporters after the city council meeting. The Atmos spokeswoman says all current billing complaints are being handled on a case-by-case basis. “Then moving forward, you heard our own CEO say we won’t be estimating bills next winter.”
Atmos says this was the second year of “planned estimation” during the colder months. The company says it typically did not estimate more than two months in a row. State code requires natural gas companies to read a meter just once every six months.
The promise to elimination estimation for next winter is music to many customers’ ears. Lisa Campbell is relieved to hear her recent big bill, may be her last. “What we did as a community, as a city, as residents and citizens of Dallas, we came to a company and said, ‘this isn’t fair,’ said Campbell. “With your help, through the Consumer Justice report, what they did is, they turned it around.”