We have a co op electric company at our current home, which we have no major complaints with. Upon negotiating the sale of our home, we found a rent house in town which apparently only TXU serves. We call them and ask about rates, internet payment options and fees. They explain to our satisfaction what we would receive and, more importantly, say we would have no deposit. They did, however, require a 2 year contract which we figured was fine since we explained to them the situation of this being a RENT home and therefore we would likely move again soon. They said no problem, if we move to an area not serviced by TXU we could close our account with no penalty. This remains to be seen if true as we have yet to cancel our account.
We have the electricity turned on around the beginning of December or so. During this time, the landlord needed to exchange out some gas appliances (gas, heater and water heater) to electric so we did not move in. After they replaced the appliances, they discovered the current electric meter didn't have the appropriate gauge wire or something to handle the extra load. So, we had to temporarily disconnect the electric in order to replace the meter. Now, when we called to set up the appointment, my husband made sure he understood IF there were any fees involved. The company assured him that no, since it was temp disconnect in order to replace the meter there would be no fees whatsoever. My husband repeated this fact to verify (because we don't like to get into charges we didn't realize) and they assured him it we'd not be charged anything. Here the problems started mounting with their inadequacy and lack of organization and communication.
1. On the phone setting up the disconnect procedure, the tech says we MUST have a reconnect date. We allowed for 3-4 days from disconnect date to reconnect. They said ok it would be turned back on at that time. Fine. The day comes, and guess what. The electricity is not on. My husband calls to inquire and the rep says well the techs have until midnight of the date to get out and get it on. Well, we were hoping to move in, but with certainly can't if we have no electricity and the weather is colder! The next day it should surely be on, but no. Still off. We again call and the rep states that they have 3 days from the order to run on it on. Uhm, this is not what the techs said. What we were told would be this: We call and schedule a disconnect. Techs disconnect, then go back on the date we gave them for the reconnect (remember they required us to have a reconnect date when we called to turn it off), and they may take up to the full day of the date we specified (i.e until 12am the next day). I have no problems with that. However, what this rep described is that they have 72 hrs from the ORDER of the reconnect to turn on the electricity. Which means if we tell them on the 2nd to disconnect and have it scheduled to reconnect on the 6th, they apparently don;t put IN the order for reconnect until the 6th and then have 72hrs from that date to turn it on..so really it may not be until the 9th. That makes NO sense whatsoever. If they knew it could take up to 72hrs then they should have put the reconnect order IN 72hrs prior to the actual date so it would be IN the system. Not wait until you want it on to *order* it on. And if they choose to do business that way then for pete's sake, elaborate and make sure the customer knows this! If we had known, we would have had the reconnect date 72hrs prior so it would be done by the time we really needed it!
2. When we called to see what the problem was, the rep informed us of the 72 window and then offered to have it prioritized as a one day turn on..which we would have to pay for. We told them no way, it wasn't worth that, especially since they screwed our moving date anyways and we would not be able to move in until the following week (due to scheduling conflicts). I will credit this to them, they did not charge us for any priority turn on which surprised me--even though we did not order it, after all the trouble we have had, I am surprised they didn't try to tack that on as well.
3. Due to our home sale falling through, we ended up not moving as planned. We have never lived in the home, and therefore, made sure all of the appliances were off. The thermostat was manually turned off, the fridge unplugged. The only thing running for a few weeks was the water heater. keep this in mind. No lights, nothing on. Vacant house. We get our bill for the past 31 days. $235! I am breaking this in parts since there are two problems with it. First: They say we used 999kWh for 31 days. 999! How is that possible? That is ridiculous. The first 12 days was on the old meter which they said used 19kWh...which is reasonable enough I wouldn't bother disputing. However, after the new meter is installed, they say in 19 days in a vacant home, we used 987 kWh. Don't think so. My husband called today to inquire. The lady pulled the well, sir, you know the weather has turned colder. blah blah. yes of course I know that. I want YOU to know that we went out there on the 15th and clocked the meter with only the hot water heater running. It didn't even advance the number. Calculating the amount of electricity used from the last reading date on our bill to the 15th, it used a whopping 6kWh in 6 days. That is 1kWh per day. So, assuming that is the average for just the water heater 12 days should be 12kWh (which as I said 19 is close enough because I know they tested the appliances out when they installed them so I am accounting for the extra amount there). So, the other 19 days should have been about 19kWh at most. And they say it was 987? No, don't think so. That rep was trying to say that water heater alone used that much because "it was colder". Believe me, it wasn't THAT cold! For comparison, our 1378 home right now on an average low use month (nice weather with no need for AC or heater) uses about 1300kWh a month. That's with washer/dryer/ceiling fans/tv/computers/lights/etc... The rent house is about 200sq ft smaller and it used more than half that with no one living there? That's outrageous. Unrealistic. And she wouldn't listen to our concern. Perhaps they get a lot of people trying to get out of their bills, I don't know. But all she offered was a free meter test. I initially declined because I don;t trust them with the word FREE. However, we did get her ID# and she said she confirmed there would be no charge and was noting it on our account. We'll see. i doubt they'll say anything at all. Right now we played it safe and turned the whole breaker box off so IF there is any usage I will know they are lying.
4. The final problem on the bill was the fact they charged us for the whole meter replacement. Two separate charges for transportation and two separate charges for clearance labor (what is that?), plus a few other misc charges. One being a $12 connection fee which I am not clear if that was to connect the new meter or when they turned on the old one initially. Either way, it added up around $126 in fees. This agitated us because we specifically asked about any fees associated with the meter and they clearly stated that no fees would be charged (this was the tech). The rep said it was listed in our notes/account with the fees and that anytime they go out on a service call there are fees charged. Uhm, then why did they tell us none when we asked? I understand and expect fees for service calls, however, I also know there are circumstances in which fees are waived, and figured replacing a meter was one of them (since the tech told us no different when we inquired). What lies. Of course, it was not the rep's fault.
It just goes to show what problems arise when there are too many channels. You have the reps doing one thing, the techs ding another. No one knows what the other is doing or charging. This one tells you one thing, another tells you something else and there is no accountability. I love the convenience of the internet, but sometime in business it has more drawbacks that benefits. Especially when you cannot reach a person face to face or even talk to the same person you began with. I really expect more credibility and organization in a company. Either the tech expressly lied or they are not educated enough in the business to know procedures. I really think they need to be taught to be adequate and precise in their answers and understanding. In the end it is the customer who ends up paying for the lack of competency.
This was such a bad experience that we are closing our account and will never use them again. Period. Unfortunately,I cannot prove the non usage on our account, so I am paying it because I am a responsible adult. However, thankfully, our landlord is paying for the meter charges since she wanted the house converted from gas to electric. That cuts our bill in half. I am happy to say good riddance to the company and that is after only one month of service! That is pretty sad. I will pray that we do not incur any penalty fees for closing. I won't hold my breath, since they lied about the service charges, I can't really trust they'd not lie about other so called *non charges* either.
Review about: Txu Electric Customer Care.
Monetary Loss: $235.