Faulty gas meters leave Laclede customers with giant bills - KMOV.com

Faulty gas meters leave Laclede customers with giant bills

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – When News 4’s Doug Vaughn received his Laclede Gas bill, he expected to owe $66 for the month, like he always had.

But, when he opened his bill, it read he owed $980.

Turns out, Vaughn was not alone.

Tera Stahlhut from St. Peters was also surprised to find her bill was much more than what she was used to paying. Laclede billed her $400.

“We got a notice a few months ago saying that our meter had not been read because it was broken. They sent us a bill for $400 and told us that we needed to pay immediately or our service would be disconnected,” Stahlhut said.

When Stahlhut received her $400 bill, she called Laclede to set up a payment plan to pay off the balance monthly. But despite her making those monthly payments, Stahlhut said a Laclede worker handed her a slip saying her gas would be shut off.

“I looked at (the worker) and said, ‘They’re suck jerks’ and he said ‘Oh my goodness, why, what’s going on’,” Stahlhut said.

After explaining her situation to the Laclede worker, she asked if Laclede had an increase in the number of shut-offs. The worker said yes, Stahlhut said. So, Stahlhut decided to stop paying Laclede and do without gas, which she said she only used for her fireplace.

So why the sudden spike in gas costs?

According to Laclede, Vaughn and Stahlhut are a part of the 0.03 percent of Laclede customers who have gas meters that don’t work properly. But, by law, Laclede has the right to charge for gas they assume a customer used in the past year.  

Since Laclede is only allowed to back-bill a customer for the past year, Vaughn’s bill was cut in half. Stahlhut and her family were told by Laclede that a computer glitch was the cause of their problem. They no longer owe Laclede any extra money.

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