Some Entergy Louisiana customers were furious Thursday after they learned they are on the hook for higher-than-expected bills, despite the utility admitting a contractor falsified meter readings.
Entergy acknowledged nearly 4,000 bills were lower than they owed for months after WWL-TV confronted the company earlier this week with customers’ complaints. Now customers will have to pay anywhere from $200 to more than $1,000.
The company said it will set up payment plans with customers and will waive any late fees until the difference is paid off.
"So we're just stuck with it because an employee did something? That's not right," one customer told WWL-TV.
Entergy contracts out meter readers with a company called Olameter.
Former Olameter employee Joshua Mulvaney, who used to supervise meter readers for Entergy Louisiana, said falsified meter reading are a common occurrence.
"It's nothing new,” Mulvaney said “It doesn't surprise me. It could happen.”
Mulvaney said that when he worked for Olameter, Entergy would fine the company for mistakes such as this.
"They're going to fine Olameter,” he said. “It's $500 dollars per reading that they can be fined up to.”
That means Entergy could fine Olameter as much as $2 million for the falsified readings.
An Entergy spokesperson confirmed the company still contracts with Olameter but would not discuss the partnership further. In the meantime customers are setting up payment plans to pay off these bills.
Entergy said the company reached out to the majority of affected customers by Thursday and will finish contacting people tomorrow. Customers should make sure their contact information is correct in the system.
Lauren Bale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.