New York Utility Says ESCO Presents "No Legitimate Challenge" In Billing Complaint
January 21, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
The following story is brought free of charge to readers byEC Infosystems, the exclusive EDI provider of EnergyChoiceMatters.com
The Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid NY ("National Grid", "KEDNY" or "Company"), in responding to a complaint from East Coast Power & Gas, LLC concerning an annual reconciliation amount, said East Coast has presented, "no legitimate challenge" to over $400,000 in reconciliation charges for which National Grid is seeking payment from East Coast
As previously reported, (see details here), East Coast is disputing annual reconciliation (Wave Report) charges that appeared on their January, February, March and April 2018 invoices. Apart from raising concerns with KEDNY's billing data, East Coast sought a directive from the PSC preventing KEDNY from dropping its customers to default service, or taking other adverse action, pending the complaint
In its response, KEDNY alleged, "In support of its Complaint, East Coast makes a series of unsupported and inapposite assertions about the Company, its billing systems, and about East Coasts purported hardships associated with the Complaint and payment of outstanding invoices for the Overpayment, which East Coast mischaracterizes as 'significant retroactive charges'."
KEDNY alleged in its response that, "The charges appeared because the Wave Report correctly identified the fact that East Coast was reimbursed multiple times for the same expected deliveries. This was because GTIS did not properly handle billed usage records that represented cancellations of previous bills that contained zero usage. To summarize, several customer bills were created in CRIS which contained zero usage for the associated billing periods. These records were sent to GTIS and included in the monthly imbalance process. Since there was no usage for these customer bills, East Coast was paid for the associated expected deliveries. These bills were subsequently cancelled, but GTIS did not recognize the new billing records as cancellations and processed the records as if they were simply bills for zero consumption. As a result, East Coast was paid for the associated expected deliveries for a second time. If the records had been treated correctly as cancellations, East Coast would have been required to reimburse National Grid for the expected deliveries that they were paid for during the previous imbalance process. Further, when new bills were issued (with consumption) the records were sent to GTIS and processed, and the expected deliveries were used in the imbalance calculation for a third time."
KEDNY in its response said that, "the erroneous payments that were made to East Coast during the first 2 iterations through the imbalance process must be returned. The annual reconciliation process recognized the situation and calculated charges totaling $409,873 as necessary to reimburse National Grid for funds overpaid to East Coast."
KEDNY in its response said that, "Other ESCOs have been presented with similar charges and have promptly paid them. East Coast never notified the Company that it had received duplicate payments during the period in question and has since refused to return the overpayments despite the fact that they have been provided with evidence that clearly identifies each occurrence."
KEDNY in its response alleged that, "The Company’s efforts to seek recovery of the overpayment to East Coast via the Wave Report reconciliation amount, has been met with persistent refusals to work with the Company and return the Overpayment, leaving a balance of approximately $409,873 due to National Grid as a result."
KEDNY in its response alleged that, "While the Company acknowledges that East Coast disputed the invoice in March 2018, Section 7: C.1 of the UBP states, 'ESCOs and/or Direct Customers are responsible for payment of disputed charges during any pending dispute.' National Grid immediately contacted East Coast, and responded to East Coast’s complaint, advising that the invoice was appropriate and should be paid in full. The Company also agreed at that time to review charges and make adjustments if any of the charges were found to be incorrect. Following these communications, and in contravention of the UBP, East Coast failed to repay the invoiced amounts, and persistently failed to engage the Company to discuss the Overpayment. Unbeknownst to National Grid, this may have been due in part to the departure of East Coast’s representative Tom Kinneary. Notwithstanding, upon receiving the complaint from East Coast questioning the invoices, the Company worked directly with East Coast’s representative to provide supporting detail, which was obtained by East Coast directly from the GTIS system. East Coast’s position that it was surprised by the invoices seeking the Annual Reconciliation are difficult to take as credible, given National Grid advised about the amount and underlying cause of the Overpayment on multiple occasions. East Coast’s suggestion that the Company should be prohibited from withholding POR payments for an outstanding balance are in direct contravention of the plain language of the UBP and the applicable Business Services Agreement with East Coast, and the Company is fully within its rights to withhold and offset POR payments for the amount of the outstanding invoices. The Company has elected instead to try and work with East Coast to address its requests for additional information, and to provide ample opportunity for East Coast to repay the Overpayment."
KEDNY said in its response that if East Coast disagrees with any aspect of the calculation of the overpayment, annual reconciliation or outstanding invoices, KEDNY will once again meet with the East Coast to review the calculation in detail
"To the extent East Coast requires additional time to settle the balance, the Company is willing to enter a brief payment plan to extend the time of repayment across a reasonable but brief period (say, four months). The Company will require appropriate credit support (e.g., letter of credit, surety bond, parent guarantee) during the repayment period," KEDNY said in its response
KEDNY said in its response that, "To date there has been no legitimate challenge to the amount of the Overpayment, $409,873, which the Company continues to believe is correct. The Company acknowledges its systems issues caused the Overpayment to East Coast and that efforts to resolve the matter could have been better. The Company apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused. However, contrary to the arguments put forth by East Coast, East Coast should not be permitted to realize a windfall by retaining the Overpayment and should be directed to work with the Company to promptly return the full amount of the Overpayment to the Company."