PRC Final Order Concurs with Complaint

By: Bill Whaley
31 August, 2017

To whom it may concern,

According to the August 30, 2017 PRC final decision in the Whaley v. KCEC matter, the Coop has rebated about $243,979.78 to 20,369 members: non-residential, about $77,000, and residential about $166,000. The matter concerned retroactive or over-billing charges as of Sept. 7 and Dec. 7 2016, charges that coincided with KCEC’s rate increases. Though KCEC claimed the retroactive billing charges were “inadvertent errors,” the Coop refused to “rectify” the overcharges despite customer complaints until brought to the attention of the PRC by Interveners Rose DesGeorges, Jerome Lucero, and Bill Whaley.

As well the PRC ordered KCEC to “post” information clarifying billing and usage terms on their web site and a graph detailing rebates to various customer classes as requested in Whaley’s complaint. Though recommended by staff and requested by Intervener Lucero, the PRC did not order an independent review or audit of billing practices at KCEC.

“Vecinos cheating vecinos” appears to be KCEC’s new slogan. Like many members, I frequently ignore the fine print each month on my bill. High volume commercial customers, like the county, town, or El Prado Water and Sanitation District should assign somebody to analyze monthly electric bills.

Though the PRC’s order is a slight victory for the 2015-2017  Interveners along with a couple million in savings due to a delay in the rate increase, it is no solution to KCEC’s debt-driven operation, an operation that raises rates in order to borrow money to pay interest only on millions of dollars in loans. The Coop, according to the record, has written off the costs of poor business decisions and poured millions of dollars in revenue from electricity sales into the black hole of diversification: call center, propane, Internet, command center, broadband, Guzman, and solar.

Perhaps there’s hope for a Russian oligarch in the Coop’s future. But the current policy of “wish fulfillment” at the Coop is not a policy at all. Like most of Houston, KCEC’s operations are underwater.

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