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Due to installation of a new meter, this monthly bill went from $34 to $183. The meter was not reporting to the company, an official said. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

New electrical meters give customers sticker shock

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By Sarah Smith

The $34 October bill from Itasca-Mantrap was quickly followed by a barely decipherable letter from the CEO.

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“Itasca-Mantrap is in the process of replacing our old mechanical meters equipped with TS1 Automated Meter Reading (AMR) modules with new electronic meters equipped with TS2 AMR Modules,” wrote CEO Michael Monsrud.

In English?

“When our line personnel changed the TS1 AMR meter at your location today they found that the meter was measuring your kilowatt-hour (kWh) energy usage correctly, but the TS1 AMR module had failed to properly report the meter kWh reading to our billing system,” the letter continued.

“Therefore you were not billed for the current amount of kWh used for the billing period.”

The enclosed adjusted bill “reflects the charge for the unreported kWh used,” the letter concludes.

$183.

Itasca-Mantrap officials refer to it as a “turtle.”

“Those are our old “Turtle 1 meters,” Monsrud said. “We’re replacing them. We have the last 3,000 to replace this year that have the Turtle 2, which will be the next generation. Those old ones, some have been in there for 15 years now.

“It’s about time,” he acknowledged. “It’s just that it’s so much money to replace them all at once that we had to phase them in.

“There’s quite a few people that have gotten those letters.”

Monsrud is protective of his membership, which Itasca-Mantrap customers are called.

“It’s really frustrating,” Monsrud said. “It’s on the meter, it’s just not sent to our billing system.”

He said residential sticker shock pales in comparison to some agricultural users.

“There’s a couple big farmers that had very, very large bills,” he said.

But the adjusted bills do mention that customers can take advantage of a payment plan option.

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
(218) 732-3364
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