What is a non-registering meter?
A meter functions like the odometer on your car. As you drive your car, the odometer changes to reflect the number of miles driven. Meters register energy use in the same manner. They display use based on the amount of energy that passes through them.
If your odometer breaks, your car still works. The same is true for natural gas meters. A non-registering meter is like a broken odometer. You still receive natural gas, but the meter does not reflect the use.
A non-registering meter is not a common occurrence. We conduct routine maintenance checks on all of our equipment and replace equipment on a regular basis. We work to ensure that our meters are fairly and accurately recording your energy use.
Do you charge for energy used while the meter was not registering?
During the time a meter stopped recording your energy use, we continued to provide you with energy service. To ensure fair billing for all of our customers, the Public Service Commission requires us to estimate the amount of energy used during the time that the meter was not registering.
After we repair or replace the meter, we adjust the account by estimating what you used when the meter did not register use. This estimate is based on historical natural gas or electricity use and daily temperatures for that location.
Why does a meter stop registering use?
Meters are exposed to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor elements that may cause them to fail. Natural gas meters are susceptible to damage in extreme cold and from rapidly changing freezing and thawing cycles. Meters also are vulnerable to damage from people, animals and debris.
How do you know when meters stop registering use?
We have methods for verifying your energy use each time we generate your bill. Our billing system automatically checks to see if the energy use for that month follows your pattern of use in previous years and months. If the system detects unusual energy use for that month, your account is flagged for review.
We review the account and look for reasons why your use pattern may have changed for the month. If we cannot identify a reason for a change in energy use, we may dispatch a field representative to replace or repair the meter.
How do you fix a non-registering meter?
Our field representative checks the meter to determine if it has stopped registering and repairs or replaces the meter, if needed. For natural gas meters, we may request an appointment with you to shut off gas service to the house and to relight pilots after our repair or replacement work is done.
Why is my bill so high?
Factors that may contribute to a higher-than-expected bill include:
- Natural gas used over several months. The bill may seem high, but it is compensating for low bills you received in prior months. We apologize for not billing you for the natural gas at the time you used it, but we have taken steps to help prevent future billing adjustments.
- Natural gas price increases. Even though the price you pay for natural gas service is around 10 percent below the average for major U.S. cities, natural gas prices have increased an average of 4 cents per therm from 2007 to 2008.
- Colder weather. The coldest months of the year are typically December, January and February, resulting in higher energy bills for these months. The weather has been 12 percent colder during the winter of 2008 than it was in 2007. Therefore, you could expect a 12 percent increase in the amount of energy you used in 2008.
My bill is high, and I can’t afford to pay it right now. What options do you offer?
We can set up an interest-free, personal payment plan to help you pay your energy bill. The personal payment plan makes it easier for you to pay your bill by spreading out some of your charges into affordable installments. Once you enroll in a personal payment plan, you pay your current energy charges each month (the amount shown on your bill for the most recent billing period) along with an installment to cover the remaining balance. This allows you to keep current with your energy charges while spreading out the rest over several months.
Need more information?
888-676-8623 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday)