Hundreds of thousands of electric customers have received double billings or experienced other hiccups in normal monthly billing patterns as a result of a major software problem experienced by Dallas-based Oncor Electric Delivery.
Oncor spokeswoman Megan Wright said Friday that the problem occurred July 19-29, resulting in a significant delay in transferring electricity usage data from meter readings to retail electric providers with customers in Oncor's sprawling service territory.
"As soon as we realized there was a problem, we started communicating with retailers during those 10 days," Wright said. "We have fixed the problem now, so there won't be any more problems."
TXU Energy, the largest retail provider in North Texas, had thousands of affected customers, spokesman Michael Patterson said.
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Most of the affected customers received a double billing -- "one bill for two months of consumption," Patterson said. The double billings were done because "we can't bill them until we get a [meter] read," he said.
Oncor spokesman Chris Schein estimated late Friday afternoon that roughly 10 percent of retail electric customers in Oncor's service territory were affected by the problem, which resulted from a glitch in upgrading software.
That would mean about 330,000 customers affected, because Oncor has about 3.3 million meters in its service territory.
"We apologize for any inconvenience it has caused to customers," Wright said.
Oncor is the major electric transmission and distribution company for North Texas and also serves substantial portions of East, West and Central Texas. Oncor and TXU Energy are both owned by Energy Future Holdings.
Patterson said TXU will work with customers who might have difficulty paying a larger electric bill.
TXU customers who experience "any hardship" in paying their bills can call TXU toll-free at 800-242-9113, Patterson said.
Some retail electric providers were late in sending out bills in July as a result of the Oncor problem, but issued bills at the regular time this month, resulting in customers receiving bills only about two weeks apart.
Jack Z. Smith, 817-390-7724