Mistaken Xcel Bill Costs Aurora Restaurant Owners $1.28 Million

March 2009
What happened to the owners of Thai Flavor restaurant in Aurora might make you think twice about automated bank payments. Restaurant owners Jittilak Chaivann and her mother, Surin Thawon, were charged $1.28 million by Xcel Energy for a monthly bill--and US Bank cleared the payment, including $96,250.90 in tax, writes The Denver Post. The restaurant's typical energy bill is more like $1,280 per month, and the error by Xcel put the restaurant's account $1 million in the hole. Xcel spokesman Joe Fuentes wouldn't talk about the matter, citing privacy, but added, "We hope that the customer is satisfied with the service we give." Chaivann, in a state of shock, said she called Xcel last week, and the company quickly fixed the error. If Xcel's automated banking skills kinda stink in Colorado, consider the company's latest plans to expand natural-gas operations: Xcel will harvest methane gas from local cows, part of a 10-year renewable-energy agreement that is expected to generate enough power for 17,000 homes per year, according to Twin Cities Business.