Summit's Cost-Benefit Analysis Fail


Summit's Cost-Benefit Analysis Fail
(Summit Utilities)

Summit Utilities Inc. is facing more than 3,000 complaints from customers, complaints filed with the Arkansas Public Service Commission and the offices of Little Rock attorney Scott Poynter. The complaints generally fall into one of two categories: allegations of price gouging and complaints about billing errors.

And though the Colorado-based natural gas provider no longer faces — for now — a federal lawsuit stemming from the complaints, it may face a PSC investigation, as requested by state Attorney General Tim Griffin.

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Summit bought CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas network in Oklahoma and Arkansas in a $2.15 billion deal that was finalized in January 2022. Summit converted customers to its billing and customer service systems in November, and complaints soon soared.

Natural gas prices are volatile, and we’re not prepared to weigh in on whether Summit is overcharging customers. But the utility has tacitly acknowledged it failed to provide adequate customer service at the time of the changeover. Had Summit properly planned for the conversion, it might not now be dealing with a potential PSC investigation and a public relations nightmare.

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