They upgraded my meter with one that is wireless, so the meter reader can wave some device in his hand from the street and get the reading. My electric went up almost immediately. No "back bill" for previous meter, and I'd not have paid it anyway. I'd have gone to court for an injunction and fought it, and joined any class action against them. I think they should do the same. The utility company was responsible for their own meter and could have swapped it at any time they felt it had a problem. One could complain they failed in their responsibility of maintenance and quality control.
Furthermore, newer meters may not be similar to the old, since many old meters used a one wire feed to the residence or business (2 wire if 220 was used, 3 wire if 2 phase 220 was used) and there was no ground return wire, which instead went to a metal pole driven into the ground. That system measured only one side of the electrical circuit I believe, whereas the new systems do have a ground return wire to the grid and balances the meter between them.
These people were buying energy and dependent on the company that supplied it to correctly meter it, and they had no responsibility themselves to test that meter. That whole system should be challenged in court.
Due to faulty equipment, this user got a whopper of a "back bill" to make-up for the lost. basically, yeah these things happen but to have it go on so long just begs to ask, "how did it get this way" and apparently its more common than people think. Notice, how the unity co. quickly states, its the law and we have to recoup the losses.
Also, i think the point for the user, you just can't run a business and have something like this hit you. Something you didn't do wrong but on the hook for it.
Around here in our neck of thew woods, if ulities get used(not turned-OFF) and property gets sold, the new owner is taken to task to pay for it. Of course, no one tells the owner of these past due billings. Often, they can be contested and usually won by the new owner, but the point I make is, they try to collect regardless from the new owner. Also, the expense of defending ones self is another expense to include time&effort. -----Willy