Alliant Energy Apologizes to Iowa Customers
If you've gotten a higher electric bill than you were expecting this summer Alliant Energy has issued an explanation, and apology.
Here's the official statement released Sunday night by Alliant Energy:
Apology to our customers in Iowa
We want to apologize for our billing process this summer. We let many of you down.
This summer was hotter than normal. Our customers used more energy than last summer. The bills that customers are seeing now are accurate, but they are coming as a big surprise. We are sorry for this surprise. We were not expecting this either.
Many of you received estimated bills recently. This is not because our meter readers or our meters didn’t do their job. Our meters and our meter readers do a great job. They are very accurate.
Our computer system checks your monthly usage against previous usage. This review catches possible mistakes in the meter reading process. Each time the system finds usage that is a lot higher or lower than normal it sends the bill to a representative to manually review it. This is done hundreds of times a day.
We recently installed a new billing system. This system has more reviews and checks to make sure customers are accurately billed. One of those reviews includes a tighter look at current energy usage.
This summer was very hot and our customers used more energy than normal. In response, our new system sent more bills than ever before to billing representatives. Unfortunately, we weren’t expecting this. Despite working overtime, we didn’t have enough representatives available to review all of the bills.
Because we couldn’t review the bill, which was accurate, the system automatically sent an estimated bill. The estimation is designed to protect customers from inaccurate bills. In years past, there were fewer bills that needed to be verified. Our employees were able to contact customers directly to let them know about the corrected bill, and setup a payment arrangement if needed.
Again, despite working overtime and hiring more employees, we weren’t able to answer all incoming calls, and also call customers proactively regarding their estimated bills. Many of you were caught by surprise. We are very sorry.
Here are specific measures we’re taking:
We are adjusting our processes to prevent multi-month estimation during periods of extreme hot or cold temperatures.
We are here to help you spread out the bill over the next 12 months. Please call us at 1-800-ALLIANT(800-255-4268). We are available 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. There is no negative impact to your account standing with us or your credit score for setting up a payment arrangement.
We have temporarily stopped the disconnection process for customers who are impacted by this.
We are waiving late payment fees for affected customers.
We are aggressively recruiting more employees.
We live and work here. Many people were affected by this, including our own employees. We will fix this, and we won’t let this happen again.
[via Alliant Energy]