Computer billing problem : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Friday April 21, 2:39 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: Citizens Utility Board

Citizens Utility Board Gets Help for ComEd Customers

CHICAGO, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- As many as 2,000 Commonwealth Edison customers will receive assistance in paying large ``make-up'' bills resulting from a computer billing problem, under an agreement worked out between CUB and utility officials.

The agreement calls for ComEd to contribute $400,000 to an independent Customer Assistance Fund, which will review billing records and make payments to eligible customers. While customers are required to pay the full amount owed to ComEd, the fund will issue rebate checks to offset a portion of the bill.

``We're glad that we have reached an agreement that is fair to consumers,'' said CUB Executive Director Martin R. Cohen. ``Affected customers will get compensated without lengthy litigation.''

Customers eligible for the rebates are those who, due to a computer glitch, paid estimated bills that were too low for an extended period of time. Once ComEd caught the error, the company issued an adjusted or ``make-up'' bill to reflect actual usage. But in some cases, customers received the estimated bills for as long as a year, even though ComEd was reading their meters every month. CUB first learned of the problem from ComEd customers complaining about large, adjusted bills. The consumer group argued that since ComEd had taken actual meter readings there was no justification for estimating bills and, as a result, no reason for the make-up bills.

Under the terms of the agreement, an independent administrator will determine which customers are eligible for refunds. The administrator will oversee the fund, and ComEd will pay the expenses of administering it.

In addition to receiving assistance from the fund, customers can pay off their adjusted bill in monthly installments. ICC rules require ComEd to give customers an extended payment plan that is at least as long as the period of time during which the charges accrued.

ComEd will send all customers who may have been affected by the billing problem a letter and claim form telling them how to apply for assistance from the fund. After that, ComEd will have no say in the administration of the fund or in determining the amount of refunds to customers.

The amount of rebates to individual customers will depend on how many customers apply for assistance. Rebates from the Customer Assistance Fund will be paid in the form of a check sent out by the fund administrator.

-- - (, April 21, 2000

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