(KMOV) -- Paul Schaeffer recently got an unexpected $3000 credit from Laclede Gas only to find out that his plumbing business had been overcharged for the last six years due to a faulty automatic meter reader.
“I honest to God was really flabbergasted when I received the bill,” says Schaeffer, owner of Kirkwood Plumbing.
The meter sends the usage information back to Laclede Gas so no one has to physically come out and check it.
Schaeffer remembers seeing higher bills six years ago, and he complained.
“I actually called them when they put the new meter in and said I thought it was high, and they said, ‘no it was correct.’ So I just assumed it was correct and maybe we changed our usage in here,” he says.
But the readings were wrong, and Schaeffer said he now believes the incident is not isolated.
Laclede Gas wouldn’t say how widespread the problems have been or exactly what the problem is. However, they did give this statement:
Our Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system has allowed us to improve customer service by significantly reducing the number of estimated bills and accurately and efficiently reporting our customers' natural gas usage. As with any technology deployed for a network of 630,000 customers, there can be anomalies that occasionally arise, such as the one you noted. These situations are rare and isolated, and we address them in a timely manner.
The AMR technology is widely used by Laclede Gas and Ameren, so we found out what you can do to make sure you’re not overcharged.
You should compare the usage listed on your bills from September of this year compared to September of last year.