Protest a high bill and report it to the consumer affairs or attorney general’s office in your state or province. There is usually an appeal process where a customer does not have to pay the contested amount. This information is normally on the back of the utility bill. Consider notifying local officials and the news media as well.
Before the customer contacted the news media, energy company Xcel said the bill was correct. After the customer contacted the news media, Xcel said the bill was a mistake and would issue a credit.
From Fox 31 Denver:
September 5, 2016
DENVER — People around the Denver metro area are talking about new meters being installed by Xcel Energy in homes and saying they seem to be anything but smart.
However, Xcel says these new meters are not “smart meters,” even though many customers believe they are. The company has asked regulators for permission to start installing those types of meters starting next year.
One customer, Patsy Smith, lives in a 700-square-foot home and said she is conscientious about her energy use by unplugging things when they are not in use.
But with the new meter, her bill jumped from an average of $50 a month to $180. She has called Xcel several times, but it said there is nothing that can be done about her bill.
After sharing Smith’s story, the FOX31 Problem Solvers heard from many other Xcel customers who saw bills go up after new meters were installed.
This month, Xcel said Smith used more than 1,100 kilowatts of electricity, up from her average of 300. According to Xcel’s website, that’s more than a small commercial business uses in an average month.
“That’s impossible,” she said.
It’s also about four times more electricity use than her highest month.
“I thought it was a mistake,” she said. [It is.]
Smith said she has called Xcel three times and time she was told that it was normal.
“I will have to work my hours just to pay my electric bill and I’m working quite a few right now,” she said.
The Problem Solvers reached out to Xcel and spoke to an official on Tuesday.
A company spokeswoman said it looks like there was a mistake with Smith’s bill. They are investigating whether it was a mechanical or human error, but they will correct her bill.
Xcel adds it has been a hot summer and people may notice higher than average utility bills. But the spokeswoman says if you suspect a mistake, contact their customer service at the number on your bill.
Problem solved: Woman’s energy bill quadrupled after Xcel installed new meter
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