CHEROKEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A Broad River Electric Cooperative spokesman said a system error “wreaked havoc” on hundreds of customer accounts.
The system did not collect usage data for 463 pre-paid accounts during a 7-day period earlier this month. The meter reading issue were during freezing weather between Jan. 2 and 9.
Josh Crotzer with Broad River Electric said during that time the system input member’s average electric usage, which was much lower that actual electricity used because of extremely cold temperatures.
He said accounts were corrected after the co-op received accurate readings on Wednesday, which is also when customers received billing notifications.
Several Broad River Electric customers reached out to us about the billing issues on Thursday.
Chelsea Ponder was overwhelmed by the corrected balance. She said her balance was $18 the week of the system error.
“It tried to say I used $81 in one day. I got really upset,” she said.
“It affected me hard because I have six kids in the house and they just can’t put a bill on somebody like that,” said Ponder. “I think it’s wrong that Broad River is doing that. I think they need to waive it.”
Crotzer said customers are not being overcharged, but rather they are seeing a balance adjustment.
“What resulted was a drastic jump most cases into the balance that they owed,” he explained. “We have seen differences upwards of $80, $90.”
“If it was an inaccurate overcharge, we certainly would reimburse them but in this case that’s not what happened,” said Crotzer. “They were actually being undercharged.”
The co–op released the following statement:
Broad River Electric is working with our hardware and software vendors to understand the underlying cause of this unfortunate event and mitigate such events in the future.
In the meantime, we are offering our impacted members debt management options and have discontinued disconnects to prepaid accounts until the issue is resolved.”
Crotzer said customers can call 866-687-2667 for more information.