Hundreds of Tallmadge residents overcharged for gas heating bills

Direct Energy's 'computer glitch' results in customers not joining city's aggregation program

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Nearly 450 Tallmadge residents are being overcharged on their gas utility bills because of a "computer glitch," according to Mayor Dave Kline.

Kline said Thursday [Jan. 24] that residents who left their previous gas supplier and opted into the city's gas aggregation program with Direct Energy this year weren't actually put into the program. He said the glitch resulted in the affected customers' information not being transferred to Dominion East Ohio Gas.

"We started getting phone calls about three weeks ago, saying [the residents] thought they were [in the city's aggregation program], but they were still on the old company ... They wanted to be switched over," Kline said.

The city negotiates the rates for the Tallmadge aggregation program by calendar year. Last year, residents paid $5.99 per mcf.

Residents who participated in 2012 weren't required to take action to stay in the program for 2013, but those who were with other gas suppliers were required to opt in.

Residents in the program are being charged a gas rate $4.19 per mcf, which Kline said is the lowest rate the city has negotiated. He said the residents who were switched over to the aggregation were being charged a higher rate by whichever company they were with.

He said some residents have said they're being charged $5.50 or $6 per mcf.

"In this weather, some people might be up to 15 mcf," Kline said, which would result in bills from $82.50 to $90 per month, respectively.

Kline said other residents throughout the Akron area also have been affected.

Tallmadge residents are still permitted to join the city's aggregation program.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9428

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