Duke Admits Mistake In Reporting Bills As Late
Duke Energy said Tuesday it erroneously told credit reporting agencies that more than 500,000 current and former Tri-State customers had late payments.
The electric and gas utility provider said information about customers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio was reported to the National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange, which includes about 70 utility, telecommunication and pay TV providers. The exchange maintains customer payment and account history data that can be used by companies in credit decisions.
The error in reporting to the National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange affects residential customers on Budget Billing in the three states and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus billing plan in Ohio since 2010. About 257,000 customers in Ohio, 205,000 customers in Indiana and 43,000 customers in Kentucky are likely affected, Duke Energy said.
Payment data for about 5,000 nonresidential customers on payment plans may have been reported incorrectly to Dun & Bradstreet and Equifax Commercial Services, according to the nation’s largest electric power holding company.
Duke Energy also found examples of incorrect reporting in situations where customers who had adjusted due dates and non-utility charges on their bills. The number of customers impacted from that error is still being determined.
Consumer advocates also called for state and federal authorities to ban the practice.
Nullifying Problems With Null References
In designing hardware for a computer, you cant have a resistor shared by, say, both the keyboard and the monitors circuitry. But programmers do this kind of sharing all the time in their software. Its called shared global state: Variables are owned by no one process but can be changed by any number of processes, even simultaneously.
Now, imagine that every time you ran your microwave, your dishwashers settings changed from Normal Cycle to Pots and Pans. That, of course, doesnt happen in the real world, but in software, this kind of thing goes on all the time. Programmers write code that calls a function, expecting it to perform a single task. But many functions have side effects that change the shared global state, giving rise to unexpected consequences.
In hardware, that doesnt happen because the laws of physics curtail whats possible. Of course, hardware engineers can mess up, but not like you can with software, where just too many things are possible, for better or worse.
Another complexity monster lurking in the software quagmire is called a null reference, meaning that a reference to a place in memory points to nothing at all. If you try to use this reference, an error ensues. So programmers have to remember to check whether something is null before trying to read or change what it references.
How can those flaws be eliminated? It turns out that the answer has been around for decades: purely functional programming languages.
Can Utility Bills Impact Credit Scores
Utility bill payments typically don’t affect your credit score because most utility companies don’t report on-time payments to the credit bureaus. The exception is when you’re severely delinquent on your payment, and the utility company sends your bill to collections.
At this point, the collection agency will typically report the past-due debt to the credit reporting agencies, which can significantly damage your credit score. The same can happen if the utility company charges off your account, assuming you’re not going to pay.
Now, however, your utility payments can have a positive impact on your credit report. Experian Boost®ø is a tool that allows you to include utility and telecom payments in your Experian credit file.
Simply give Experian access to your bank account data, verify monthly utility payments, and confirm that you want them included on your credit report. If the new information can increase your credit score, the boost will happen immediately.
Experian Boost doesn’t include late utility payments in its calculations, so you don’t have to worry about those having the opposite effect.
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Which Monthly Bills Affect Your Credit Score
Here’s the truth about your : There are more things that can hurt it than help it, and there’s some confusion about how that works.
A recent survey from TransUnion asked consumers about a few common bills and whether or not they’re regularly reported to the major credit reporting agencies. Generally, things like rent payments and utility bills aren’t reported to credit bureaus, so you don’t get “good credit” for making those payments on time. However, if one of those bills is overdue, it might end up hurting your credit, if the company you owe sends the bill to a debt collector.
If you thought paying your rent or electric bills on time helped your credit standing, you’re not alone: 48% of those who responded to TransUnion Interactive’s online survey said they thought rent payments were regularly reported to credit bureaus. Even more confusion surrounded other bills: 53% thought cable and internet payments are regularly reported, 54% thought their utility payments are reported, and 52% thought credit bureaus had record of their cellphone payments. That’s not the case.
The TransUnion data is based on a survey of 1,001 U.S. consumers ages 18 through 64 who rent their current living unit. Even though the respondents are exclusively renters, it’s surprising that only 29% knew mortgage payments are regularly reported to credit bureaus and, as a result, have a significant impact on credit scores.
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How Important Is My Payment History
Your payment history is the most important factor credit lenders and landlords look at on your credit report. Failing to make any kind of payments can mark you as unreliable and make it harder to get approved for new lines of credit or a new apartment.
For more context on the importance of payment history, lets look at the FICO® scoring criteria. Your credit score is based on the following factors:
- Payment history
- Inquiries/new accounts
- Amount of available credit
Whether youre looking at your FICO® or VantageScore credit scores, payment history plays the biggest role in determining your reliability as a borrower. The more on-time payments you make towards your bills can help you avoid a questionable payment history, and even boost your credit score.
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Your Rights If Youre Denied Utility Service
You have the right to know why the utility company denied you service. The company has to send you a notice, within 30 days of its decision, telling you the specific reasons why they denied you service or notifying you that you have the right to know those reasons. You then have 60 days to request that they tell you those reasons. You must submit your request in writing. You also could contact your state or local consumer protection office to check on any additional rights under state law.
What’s The Effect Of A Utility Bill In Collections
Its difficult to know exactly how much your credit score will drop if you have an account enter collection.
The effect is determined by how good your credit currently is, and the size of the bill. If you have good credit, your score has more room to drop, so it will drop more than someone who already has poor credit.
If you already have one account in collections, adding another one also wont cause as large a dip.
How old the collections account is will also change the impact on your score. Newer accounts will have a larger impact. Old collections accounts will have a lesser effect on your credit score.
In the end, its not unusual to see your credit score drop by as much as 100 points if you have an account enter collection.
Thats enough to move you from the category of having excellent credit to having poor credit, significantly impacting your ability to borrow money.
Duke Energy Carolinas Llc Credit Report
Duke Energy Carolinas, Llc is a Public that operates within the Electric Power Distribution industry. It was incorporated on 2015 and its headquarters are located at 526 South Church Street Charlotte North Carolina 28202. Duke Energy Carolinas, Llc is incorporated with the company number US46043959.
How does this company compare to the averages within its industry.
Yes: Your Landlord Reports Your Rent Payment As Delinquent
A landlord can report any missed payment to a credit bureau, which will land on your credit report. That missed rental payment will act as a negative mark on your payment history and as payment history is one of the most important factors in calculating your credit score, your score will likely go down.
Applying For Utility Services Is Applying For Credit
If youre moving into a new home and you need to set up and pay for utilities, youll need to apply for those services. When you apply, companies often look at how youve paid your bills in the past, including how youve paid bills for utilities where youve lived before.
Heres what you should know when you apply for utilities:
- Youre applying for credit. Utility companies send you a bill at the end of the month based on how much gas, water, or electricity you use. That means theyre extending you credit for their services until you pay your bill.
- Companies will look at your credit history. Like other creditors, utility companies will ask for information like your Social Security number so they can check your . A good credit history can make it easier for you to get services. A poor credit history can make it harder.
- How you pay your utility bills can become part of your credit history. If you pay your bills in full and on time, it can help your credit. If you dont, it can hurt your credit. Failing to pay on time can also lead to collections and charge-offs, which can especially damage your credit. Not paying on time also can affect whether you can get other types of credit. Learn more in Understanding Your Credit.
Functional Programming Has A Steep Learning Curve
Pure functional programming solves many of our industrys biggest problems by removing dangerous features from the language, making it harder for developers to shoot themselves in the foot. At first, these limitations may seem drastic, as Im sure the 1960s developers felt regarding the removal of GOTO. But the fact of the matter is that its both liberating and empowering to work in these languagesso much so that nearly all of todays most popular languages have incorporated functional features, although they remain fundamentally imperative languages.
The biggest problem with this hybrid approach is that it still allows developers to ignore the functional aspects of the language. Had we left GOTO as an option 50 years ago, we might still be struggling with spaghetti code today.
To reap the full benefits of pure functional programming languages, you cant compromise. You need to use languages that were designed with these principles from the start. Only by adopting them will you get the many benefits that Ive outlined here.
But functional programming isnt a bed of roses. It comes at a cost. Learning to program according to this functional paradigm is almost like learning to program again from the beginning. In many cases, developers must familiarize themselves with math that they didnt learn in school. The required math isnt difficultits just new and, to the math phobic, scary.
How Can A Utility Bill Hurt Your Credit
Utility companies do not report accounts and payment history to the three major credit bureaus , and as a result, these types of bills have not historically had an impact on your credit scores. For a utility company to be able to report information to a credit bureau, they must meet the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, such as updating payment information regularly and being able to respond to disputes within legally mandated timeframes.
One of the few instances where your utility and telecom billsincluding energy, phone and cablewill affect your credit score is if you miss enough payments that the provider sends your debt to a collection agency or charges off your account, assuming you’re not going to pay it.
Will Duke Energy Collections Try Suing Or Garnishing My Wages
It’s very unlikely that Duke Energy Collections decides to sue. In rare cases it may happen, but it is not the norm. State and federal laws have limits or ‘exemptions’ that apply to bank and wage garnishments. We strongly recommend giving us a call to determine the likelihood of a lawsuit, but also steps you can take to get this collection removed.
When You Might Have To Pay A Deposit For Utility Service
If youre a new utility customer, or if youre an existing customer with a poor payment history, the utility company might say you have to pay a deposit to get new service. Or they might ask you to get a letter from someone who agrees to pay your bill if you dont. This is called a letter of guarantee.
Here are a few things to know:
- Generally, the company must treat everyone the same.The companys policy for requiring deposits or letters of guarantee must be the same for all customers. If youre a new customer, the company can ask you for a deposit or letter of guarantee if their policy is to ask all new customers for one, or if they do so for all whose credit history is poor.
- Youre not a new customer if youve already had an account with the utility company under your spouses name. If youve had utility services under your spouse’s name at places youve lived before, your household is technically not a new customer. In that case, a utility company cant ask you to pay a deposit or get a letter of guarantee claiming that you are a new customer, when you want to set up utilities in your name.
- Your spouses utility payment history could affect whether youre required to pay a deposit or give a letter of guarantee.If the companys policy is to ask for a deposit or guarantee letter if a customers credit is poor, your spouse’s late payment history could be taken into consideration even if your own utility payment history is fine.
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Duke Energy admitted that the root cause of the problem was a coding error that occurred when customers opted to pay their monthly utility bills via the utilitys Budget Billing or Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus . A company spokesperson told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that while customers were sent the correct invoices and their on-time payments were properly credited, the billing system indicated that the customers bills were paid late.
As a result, that late payment information for residential customers was sent by formal agreement to the National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange . The NCTUE is a consortium of over 70 member companies from the telecommunications, utilities and pay TV industries that serves as a credit data exchange service for its members. Holding over 325 million consumer records, NCTUE provides information to its members regarding the credit risk of their current and potential customers. For non-residential customers, the late payment snafu had worse consequences: the delinquency reports were sent to the business credit rating agencies Dun & Bradstreet and Equifax Commercial Services.
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Duke Energy Customers To Get Refund This Month After Settlement
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Good news for Duke Energy customers.
When you open your energy bill this month, you could see a credit.
Duke says natural gas customers will get a one time account credit of $133 this month as the result of a recent settlement and order from the public utilities commission of Ohio.
The good thing is, you don’t have to do anything to get the credit — it will automatically be applied to your account.
Things You Didn’t Know Affect Your Credit Score
We all know we’re supposed to pay our bills on time and carry as little debt as possiblethe two major factors that go into calculating our . Yet, there are other, smaller factors many people aren’t aware of that can also have an impact on our scores.
How To Get Credit For The Rent You Pay:
If you regularly pay your rent on time and in full, you can have your good payment history reported to credit bureaus to help raise your credit score through a rent-reporting service. Know that any rent-reporting services will require a fee for the service, which is usually paid on a monthly basis.
When you sign up with a rent-reporting service, you will actually pay your rent directly through the service. The rent-reporting service will then transfer your rent, minus service fees, to your landlord. They will report each positive payment to the credit bureaus.
Who Qualifies For Duke Energys $500 Bill Credit
CINCINNATI, Ohio – With colder nights and the holidays approaching, who doesnt want to cut costs on their gas bill?
This season, qualifying Duke Energy Ohio customers may be eligible for a one-time $500 bill credit.
To qualify for this credit, Duke Energy customers must be 65 or older and have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
Customers must also receive natural gas service from Duke Energy Ohio and have an account registered in their name.
We know that higher bills can be a hardship for many and we want to connect our customers with financial assistance and resources to help, Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky said.
Local Ohio agencies are working with Duke to assist low-income customers to determine eligibility and distribution of funds.
Customers 65 and older needing assistance paying an energy bill should contact one of the following:
Clermont Senior Services: 513-536-4004
For more information, customers can visit Duke Energys website and click Ohio.
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