Bloated gas bill has Eagle man steamed
EAGLE, Colorado –Because he has automatic withdrawal for his natural gas bill, Terry Simpkins of Eagle doesn’t usually pay that much attention to the monthly statement SourceGas sends him.
But he will from now on since receiving a $9,035.91 March bill from the company. For comparison, his February charges were only $120.15.
“It was thoroughly unbelievable,” he said.
Simpkins was alerted to the excessive charges when his bank called him to question them. He then contacted the company to dispute the bill and a customer service representative told him a computer error had caused the problem and around 200 customers were affected.
Natalie Shelbourn, SourceGas business relations representative for Colorado, said the computer snafu actually affected around 70 customers. SourceGas serves approximately 80,000 customers in Colorado.
“Typically we have a process in place that catches larger than average bills before they are even sent to a customer so they can be manually reviewed,” she said. But the computer upgrade also affected the oversight system and the incorrect bills were sent.
Shelbourn noted that if direct debit customers incurred bank fees as a result of the SourceGas error, the company offered to reimburse them for the charges.
“We sincerely apologize for the error and the inconvenience it caused,” she said.
Simpkins said SourceGas apologized when he contacted the company. However, he noted approximately two weeks elapsed between the time when the company sent the erroneous bill and when his bank contacted him about the problem. Simpkins said that was an ample amount of time for sources to notify affected customers and let them know about the mistake.
“We were able to come back and get new bills issued,” said Shelbourn, noting that issuing corrected bills is the company’s normal process to deal with issues such as the March problem.
That explanation isn’t really working for Simpkins.
“If there were that few people involved and they had the bills for two weeks, they should have contacted the customers. I think it’s an example of a big business not really caring about the people it serves,” he said.
Simpkins March bill was corrected. He paid about $100 for his service that month.