Officials say WKG bills confusing but correct (KY) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Official says WKG bills confusing but correct

10 February 2000

By Steve Vied Messenger-Inquirer

A Western Kentucky Gas official said Wednesday the Owensboro-based company has received a few hundred calls from customers confused by their most recent natural gas bills.

While those bills may be confusing, they are also correct, said Bill Senter, WKG's vice president for rates and regulatory affairs.

The confusion over this month's bills can be traced to a widespread billing error that occurred last month, Senter said. Because of a glitch that cropped up as WKG was implementing a new rate structure, bills that went out to about 49,000 customers in January were abnormally high because one part of the gas charge was mistakenly doubled.

When that mistake was discovered, some affected customers were told to add $10 to the amount they paid in December and pay that amount with the promise that the proper adjustments would show up on the February bill.

It is those adjustments that have customers confused, Senter said. Some may have thought their January bill was paid in full when it was not, Senter said. And, the way the adjustments are listed on the bill could lead some to misunderstand how they were applied.

"Still, when it all flows down, the bottom number is the sum of all charges," Senter said. "That number is correct. We have not seen a single bill that was not correct."

Elgene Carter of Cloverport was both confused and angry when she received her bill earlier this week. The bill she received in January was for $227 when she actually owed $151. Her latest bill is for $159, but seems to indicate, to her at least that her bill was adjusted incorrectly. Senter said he checked Carter's bill and that it is correct.

"I still want to send copies of my bill to their chief auditor," Carter said. "They gave me a credit and then took it away. I still don't think it's right."

Carter said she turned her thermostat down from 72 degrees to 65 degrees to save on her bill.

"I turned my thermostat down and my bill went up," Carter complained.

Carter said her gas bills for December of 1998 and January of 1999 were $117 and $138, respectively.

Late last year WKG was granted a general rate increase that raised residential rates by 9.1 percent.

-- Homer Beanfang (, February 10, 2000

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