Power company keeps billing homeowners whose house was destroyed

Posted Jan 13, 2016 by Bryan W. Alaspa
It was a bad end of the year in Texas for tornadoes. One family near Dallas had a secondary problem — they kept getting billed by the power company even though their house has been destroyed.
An American flag placed by first responders is seen December 27  2015 in the aftermath of a tornado ...
An American flag placed by first responders is seen December 27, 2015 in the aftermath of a tornado in Rowlett, Texas
Laura Buckman, AFP
According to Consumerist the family considered themselves lucky when no one was hurt or killed during the tornado outbreak that hit the area at the end of 2015. Their home was completely destroyed, however, and they were looking to rebuild. If that wasn’t enough to worry about, the power company, Reliant, began billing them for power usage even though no one was at the home and the structure itself was gone.
According to Reliant representatives, the power usage at the home somehow went up after the tornado ripped through. It began sending text messages to the family, telling them that they were overdue on their bill. Reliant said a phone call saying that the house was gone was not enough, but that the family should have called earlier. It also said the power had been restored to the area and their sensors showed the home was using power, therefore they were liable for the bills.
Reliant recently sent a note to local Dallas media stating that when someone did finally call in about the issue, not one of the four people who tried to help knew what needed to be done. The company has now issued an apology and told the family that they do not need to pay the outstanding bills.
The company has gone further and said it has initiated further training for its phone representatives so they can better help residents who have a similar problem. Reliant also said it has donated up to $50,000 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts for those affected by the tornadoes.