Computer glitch overcharges thousands of Atmos Energy customers in 7 states
May 7, 2013 09:09 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Atmos Energy, one of the country's largest natural gas distributors, is currently investigating what caused their computer system to overcharge 39,000 people in seven states, including Tennessee and Kentucky.
Customers in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Mississippi were also impacted.
The customers affected were enrolled in the company's recurring automatic bill pay, which deducts the payments from their debit or credit cards each month.
According to Atmos Energy, an extra zero was added to the customer's payment amount.
"They said it was a new software system that they put in place that went live for the beginning of the month, they had no idea that an error that resulted in 10 times the billing amount was going to occur," Laura Pigott told Nashville's News 2.
Pigott, a Franklin resident, was one of 1,230 Tennessee customers overcharged.
"I went to go pay some monthly bills and was just checking my bank balance, I thought it looked a little lower than normal so I was scrolling through and saw a transaction for $490 from my gas company," Pigott said.
The company is working to reverse the billing errors but Pigott said she has not been refunded the $490 she is owed.
"$490 especially in these days and times, trying to live on a budget is extremely difficult to then try and manage," Pigott said. "Having $490 dollars taken out and knowing I have to pay other bills, I'm not paying them right now."
Pigott said she is now thinking twice about Atmos' automated draft service, "They [Atmos] sell it to you for budget billing, saying you'll pay less every month, and I do, but now, is it worth it?"
The company serves Williamson, Rutherford, Maury and Bedford counties as well as other counties in western Tennessee.
Atmos Energy plans to reimburse overcharged customers for any charges or fees caused by their computer error.