Third-party app causes concern over power usage despite ongoing outage

Third-party app causes concern over power usage despite ongoing outage
Several Southside Electric Co-op customers in Dinwiddie County say their Smart Hub app showed meter usage despite ongoing power outage. (Source: Provided)

DINWIDDIE Co., Va. (WWBT) - Leaders with Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) say a third-party app developed to help customers manage their accounts is showing meter usage despite thousands of customers still without power.

On Wednesday, several customers in Dinwiddie County posted about this issue in a social media group. The photo attached to the post shows meter usage on Saturday and Sunday, despite the customer’s power going out early Feb. 13.

Customers used the Smart Hub application to review their account with SEC.

Following the initial post, several other SEC customers in Dinwiddie County shared similar concerns upon checking their accounts.

As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 4,509 SEC customers in Dinwiddie County were still without power from Saturday’s storm.

NBC12 reached out to SEC for more information regarding the issue. A spokesperson released the following message which has been sent to customers as well:

“Thank you for contacting Southside Electric Cooperative with your question. Unfortunately, Smart Hub cannot identify a power outage, so it just estimates the usage for that day. You will usually see a one to two day delay when that happens. Smart Hub is just an information/payment app, we do not use it to create your bill. For billing purposes, your meter sends daily usage information back to our Customer Information System (CIS) around midnight. So the last billing reading currently on your account will be for the midnight hour prior to you losing power. Once your power is restored, your meter will send us an update at the next midnight hour and any usage you had up to the time you lost power will be reported for billing. However, Smart Hub will still display the estimate for historical readings. My apology for the confusion. If I can answer any additional information about this issue, please let me know.”

NBC12 also reached out to Smart Hub, but messages were not immediately returned.

According to the narrative in the mobile app stores, the application, “provides utility and telecommunications customers account management at their fingertips. Customers can view their usage and billing, manage payments, notify customer service of account and service issues and receive special messaging from their local utility or telecommunications company.”

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