Enstar Overcharges Military for $5.7 Million in Natural Gas Now Wants Southcentral Households to Pay
Senator Wielechowski Says Consumers Should not Bear the Brunt of Enstar Error
(ANCHORAGE, September 22, 2009) - Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) today urged the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) to reject Enstar Natural Gas Company's request to add $5.7 million to the heating bills of Southcentral households and businesses this coming year to compensate for an error it made from 2002 to 2007.
Starting in October, 2002, Enstar charged the Fort Richardson laundry for 10 times more gas than it actually consumed. The error was not discovered until November, 2007. By that time, the Department of Defense had paid more than $5.7 million for gas it never received.
Now Enstar is asking Southcentral households and businesses to foot the bill.
"This is an outrageous request," Senator Wielechowski said today. He urged the RCA to deny it.
"Why is Enstar asking all customers to pay for a mistake it made in overbilling one customer?" asked Senator Wielechowski. "There is no claim that gas meters in people's homes and businesses were inaccurately recording how much gas was being consumed, so how can Enstar come back now and say consumers used more than their meters recorded back then?"
"Furthermore, it's unfair to ask Alaskan families in 2009 and 2010 to pay for an error that Enstar made and should have corrected from 2002 to 2007," Senator Wielechowski said.
Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan is also opposing Enstar's request. In a statement to the RCA, he said, "it is untenable for Enstar to now pass on such costs to its 2009 and 2010 customers, regardless of when the cost was incurred."
Enstar serves about 130,000 customers in Southcentral. 118,000 of these are residential consumers.
"Heaping more costs on consumers who are already strapped will only make matters worse for many Anchorage households," Wielechowski added. "Gas prices have doubled in the past several years and many households are struggling."
Senator Wielechowski noted that the RCA has a hearing scheduled for October 7 on this matter. He urged all concerned citizens to submit comments to the Commission or to attend the hearing. The commission will then have until Jan 8, 2010 to decide.
For more information, call Senator Wielechowski or Michelle Sydeman at 907-465-6881.