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Calgary man refunded $4,500 for years of electric bill overpayments

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WATCH ABOVE: For one Calgary man it paid to question his unusually high electric invoice. As Tony Tighe reports, it turns out he’d been paying for his neighbour’s power for years. – Jan 16, 2017

A Calgary condo owner has been refunded 12 years worth of power overpayments.

Steven Coutts’ monthly electric bill is around $40 but after going on vacation for four weeks last summer, his bill was triple that amount.

“I came back home to some of the largest bills I’ve ever had. There’s no way I could be getting a $180 bill when I’m not even home, so that’s when I made my call to Enmax.”

Enmax reviewed his power use and suggested he turn off his main electrical breaker to see what happened. With everything turned off, his electrical meter was still running.

“It never dawned on me that I was on the wrong meter. I just thought there was something wrong with the meter,” Coutts said.

It turns out, when his building was under construction 12 years ago, there was a mix-up labeling the meters in the electrical room. He’s been paying the bill for another unit all this time.

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“Crossed meters are so extremely rare, that is one of the last things that we look at in terms of possibility,” according to Doris Kaufmann-Woodcock with Enmax.  “In some cases, for whatever reason before tenants move in, they may re-number the units without having made adjustments to the meters as required. And that’s exactly what happened in this case.”

Enmax crews double-check the meters in new buildings for mistakes today, but in 2005, that wasn’t done.

Coutts is disappointed it took Enmax three months to recognize the meter mix-up but they’ve apologized and will compensate him for years of overpaying.

“On Friday they came up with a $4,500 rebate for all the electricity I had been overbilled for over the years, so that was pretty surprising.”

“In this particular case, we took longer than it should have and so it actually brought to light for us some improvements that we can make to our processes,” Kaufmann-Woodcock said.

Enmax said the other customer will not be billed for underpaying, but has been warned to expect a higher bill from now.