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Lakewood homeowner's Xcel bill increases 1,500% after smart meters installed

Xcel says new meters are accurate
xcel 2.png
Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-01 20:22:42-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — More Xcel customers are reaching out to Contact Denver7 concerned about skyrocketing bills after their smart meters were installed.

One Lakewood homeowner said his case is unique after his Xcel bill for a storage garage increased by 1,500%.

Not much has changed in Tom Boyle's Lakewood storage garage in the last 30 years, including his Xcel bill, which usually costs about $7 a month. It powers two light bulbs, a well pump, his sprinkler system, and two battery chargers.

Lakewood homeowner's Xcel bill increases 1,500% after smart meters installed

"Then, the new meter got put in," Boyle said. "And it went from and 4 kWh for $7 a month to 724 kWh for $112. Suddenly, two light bulbs pulled more power than an entire house of people. It's ridiculous."

Boyle said the only things that changed are the smart meters Xcel installed this summer.

His storage garage and his house are on separate meters. The bill for the house only went up slightly.

In the last three years, state regulators with the Public Utilities Commission reported 52 complaints about Xcel smart meters, and regulators found not one of the cases was noncompliant with PUC rules.

Last month, Contact Denver7 reported on Xcel bill tripling at a Lakewood apartment complex after new meters were installed. Xcel launched an investigation but did not report any updates.

"I saw the story you did," Boyle said. "And I guarantee you it's not just me and this apartment complex seeing these huge spikes. I had an electrician come out and he tested the box and everything and said, 'Yeah, it's the meter.'"

After Contact Denver7 reached out to Xcel, crews came to Boyle's house to check the meter.

In a statement to Contact Denver7, Xcel wrote:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We take customer complaints seriously and want to make sure all bills are accurate. The meter tested as accurate today and earlier in September 15, 2022, in response to the customer’s request. To confirm, the customer’s meter read 1-10 kWh per month through July 2022, which increased to 724 kWh in August, 825 kWh in September and 556 kWh in October. We recommend the customer sign up for an energy audit for a thorough inspection with recommendations to save on energy costs. If a customer thinks their bill is too high, we highly encourage them to call our customer service team at 800-895-4999. Customers can sign up for energy audits with a registered contractor on our website at Home Energy Audit | Residential Services | Xcel Energy.
Xcel Energy

Boyle said he plans on filing a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission and does not plan to pay the bill.

"At least I got a response," he said. "They are still defending their meters. But there is no way this garage is using that much power, and now everyone knows about it."

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.