HERNANDO, Miss. — Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley announced today the reimbursement of $1,230,313.55 to Hernando High School by Entergy Mississippi for over a decade of high electricity bills. From September 2001 to July 2012, Entergy over billed the school for electricity usage for an amount just under a million dollars. At Presley’s insistence, Entergy agreed to additionally pay interest in the amount of $236,312.56.
“To make the taxpayers whole, I believe the only fair response is that Entergy pay interest on the money that taxpayers were denied use of because of high bills. Entergy’s original offer to pay only the amount over billed was unacceptable,” Presley said.
The cause of the overbilling was a meter multiplier Entergy installed at the school. For large customers, a traditional meter cannot physically handle the enormous amount of electricity flowing through it. A multiplier diverts and samples a fraction the actual electricity flow and then precisely scales up its calculation to reach the correct amount of electricity actually used. In the case of Hernando High School, however, the company’s multiplier was incorrect, resulting in monthly overcharges. Presley’s office is currently investigating the number of meter multipliers Entergy has in the field and how long it will take Entergy to conduct a system wide check of all meters of this type.
However, Presley has seen a rise in the instances of over billing and under billing due to defects in meters of all types. “Hernando High School was an especially egregious example, but this could happen to any customer.” Presley noted. Many of the Commission’s metering rules are many years old. Presley would like the Commission to consider new rules which would ensure that utilities’ meters are routinely tested and serviced, and when a utility over bills, the customer will be compensated with interest. “When a customer buys electricity, the meter is the cash register. I want to ensure that the register is accurate, and that customers are being charged only for what they use,” Presley concluded.