Penalties for utility because of too many estimated bills


Sharon M. Reishus,
Augusta, ME, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 10, 2008 – Northern Utilities, a natural gas utility with over 46,000 customers, has been ordered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to implement an AMR system because it has sent out too many bills based on estimated rather than actual usage. In addition the utility will have to give customers a rebate on their next bill

A spokesman for the Maine PUC says that the deployment of the AMR technology will allow Northern Utilities to read meters remotely once a month, and thereby ensure that readings are accurate and bills reflect each customer’s actual consumption. Deployment of the AMR meters has already started, and will continue until late in 2009.

The Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division (CAD) is charged with ensuring that consumers and utilities receive fair and equitable service through Commission education and consumer complaint resolution programs. As part of this mission, the CAD is responsible for responding to information requests, resolving consumer complaints, assessing utility compliance with consumer-related statutes and Commission rules, and screening requests from utilities seeking to disconnect gas or electric service in the winter. The CAD also provides a number of services to assist utilities in designing and operating effective consumer service programs that are fair to individual consumers, utilities, and the ratepayers in general.