Riverway customer service answers to June 1 POLR, etc.

The surprises keep coming for Riverway customers ….
In addition to the really high final bills mentioned in the last entry, a letter sent to customers via e-mail last night says they “… will be transferred to the Provider of Last Resort (POLR), effective approximately midnight on June 1 2008 …”
ERCOT, the grid operator that handles the nuts-and-bolts of switching customers, didn’t actually start the transition to POLR until Tuesday, June 10, however, after the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy was cancelled. A spokesman for the PUC confirms customers can’t be put on a POLR rate retroactively.
So, we talked to a Riverway customer service representative via online chat today and she said that the date on the letter should say June 12 and that you can ignore the June 1 date.
I also asked her about the issue of customers getting final bills where they were charged a rate of something like 16 cents per kwh for the entire month, vs. the approximately 11 cent rate they signed up for. Again, the PUC said the company couldn’t put you on that higher rate unless they had given you a 45 day warning.
The customer service rep (identified only as Shirley) said customers should be billed at the same rate they signed up for and shouldn’t have had their rate increased.
That may be cold comfort if you still have a bill in hand with the error. I’d suggest first trying to get them to fix it via customer service, which is still operating. The online chat service is actually pretty quick and beats sitting on hold on the phone. If you pay for your power with a credit card you can also dispute the bill via that route.