TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Houston-based energy supplier has said it was an error to bill a Tyler businesses over $200,000 for natural gas after Winter Storm Uri.
Two East Texas businesses are involved in a class action lawsuit against Symmetry Energy for high natural gas prices during the winter storm: Certified Roses in Tyler and Colony Park Apartments in Longview.
The lawsuit, headed by Houston-based Potts Law Firm, alleges that Symmetry “wrongfully passed on certain costs to customers” during the winter storm.
“We believe those charges were basically penalties charged by the pipeline companies to Symmetry during the winter storm,” National Managing Partner Derek Potts said. “They’re trying to pass those on to customers and the case is about that not being legal.”
According to Potts, the first thing Symmetry did when answering the suit was send a revised bill to Certified Roses– instead of charging them $248,943, they dropped a line item called “incremental supply costs” which took the total down to $15,448.
In a court filing, Symmetry said they “discovered an error on Certified Roses’ invoice” and reversed the incremental supply costs and is reissuing the invoice. They said this was due to “individualized circumstances relating to the supply of gas to Certified Roses during the storm.”
“To me, that means they agree it’s an improper charge, which is what the class action is about,” Potts said.
As for Colony Park Apartments, they were set up on an auto-debit program, meaning the money was taken from their account. They have not received an updated bill.
“It was an improper charge, it was not a charge that should have been passed on to the customers who had fixed rate gas plans,” Potts said. “Nowhere in that contract does it allow for Symmetry to pass on what they’re referring to as ‘incremental supply costs’ to the customers.”
If Symmetry does not reverse those charges for customers, the case will likely go to trial in 2022.