LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Summit Utilities has responded to customer complaints with a message signed by its CEO Friday.
Summit President and CEO Kurt Adams addressed individual issues in an email. Adams acknowledged that the company’s implementation of a new computer system combined with “unusually” high winter energy costs have led to customer frustration.
The email addressed cost of gas, billing accuracy and customer wait times.
COST OF GAS
As a utility, Summit does not profit from the cost of gas, Adams said. He added that gas price is billed accurately based upon commodity cost approved by regulators.
Adams said the company has heard from customers about billing process errors and confusion. This has caused some customers to lose trust in the company, he acknowledged.
Adams continued to assure that billing issues have been resolved and are now accurate.
SUSPEND DISCONNECTIONS AND LATE FEES
Adams said the company had suspended disconnection and late fees last fall during the change-over to its new customer service and billing system. This suspension will continue through winter, he said, adding that customers will receive “ample notice” before reinstituting the late fee and disconnect process.
Adams continued to encourage bill payment and contact customer service if there was an issue.
CUSTOMER SERVICE WAIT TIMES
Summit had heard from customers frustrated with wait times, Adams said.
Summit has hired an additional 50 customer service representatives in Arkansas and Oklahoma since Nov. 1, he said. Adams added that this had created an average call wait time of seven minutes in the past three weeks.
Customers with concerns about their bill should call the company’s customer service department, Adams said.
The email came out a day after a class-action lawsuit was filed against the company in Pulaski County alleging price-gouging.