Direct Energy says software caused Albertans' billing errors

Direct Energy says software caused Albertans’ billing errors

One man paid $7,000 for a $70 bill


CALGARY – A utility company that many in Alberta deal with admits it is at fault for many billing mistakes and is blaming new software and a new office for the errors.

In October 2014, Houston-based Direct Energy says it updated its operating systems and shifted call centres, closing one while opening another in Guatemala.

Many Albertans deal with the company in one form or another — if you don’t have a utility contract, then the company is the default natural gas provider.

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The company also markets gas and electricity contracts as well.

Gary Newcombe, vice-president of Direct Energy, says they have retrained employees and software engineers have fixed the outstanding issues, so things should be running more smoothly now.

Calgary customer Ronan Wollersheim mistakenly paid $7,000 for a $70 bill in May, and has been trying to get Direct Energy to issue a refund ever since.

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Wollersheim said call-centre employees told her cancelling her service was the only way she would get a full refund.

The Alberta Utilities consumer advocate office says it has received more than 1,400 complaints about Direct Energy since 2014.