HARKER HEIGHTS — Oncor and Direct Energy overbilled the city about $212,000 for electricity, and it’s unclear if the city will reclaim the full sum.
Oncor double metered the library’s electricity from July 2008 to June 2013, according to city documents. City staff and TriStem, the city’s utility bill auditor, requested a full refund of $211,809.15 from Oncor on July 12. An Oncor representative said retail provider Direct Energy should reimburse the city as well.
On Tuesday, Harker Heights City Council members unanimously authorized City Manager Steve Carpenter to use original jurisdiction, which allows him to negotiate and regulate Oncor’s operations in the city.
The same transformer serving the Harker Heights Police Department after construction in 2006 also began providing electricity to the library after its completion in 2008, Finance Director Alberta Barrett said.
At the library, workers installed an operational meter, but improperly configured the building’s circuitry, TriStem documents stated. As a result, voltage continued to flow from the police station to the library and two meters registered one current.
Oncor collected about 22 percent of the total overage, and agreed to refund that amount plus interest, documents stated. The company’s senior counsel referred the city to Direct Energy, which has no contractual obligation to repay overbillings older than two years — more than $95,000 in this case. Officials told Oncor to repay the whole overage.
On Tuesday, Oncor area manager Karl Green said his company would partially refund, and suggested a meeting between stakeholders to work toward reconciliation.
Carpenter rejected the proposition.
“So, you’re saying you’re only going to give us $110,000?” Murphey asked Green on Tuesday.
“What did you guys do with the other $100,000? Is it yours because it’s just yours?”
Green acknowledged the entire overage, but contended that his company is responsible only for the portion it collected.
“The use of electricity might have been supplied by Direct Energy,” Carpenter said. “It was billed by Oncor. … It was double-billed.”