POWER COMPANY REDUCES BILL
Lowers electric payment by $30
Sends me a check for $1000
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July 7, 2005 Issue



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  1. POWER COMPANY BACKS DOWN ON BILL
    Reduces bill by $30
  2. POWER COMPANY SENDS ME A CHECK
    For $1000
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#1. POWER COMPANY BACKS DOWN ON BILL
Reduces bill by $30

In the American economy utility companies hold a unique position. There is usually only one electric company in a commnuity. Because of this the public often perceives the electric companies to have a position similar to government. After all if you don't pay the bill, they'll shut off your lights.

Because of this position, utility companies may not offer much help when it comes to a dispute. Just last month I called the electric company to discuss my bill. The bill showed me using 10 times as much electricity during a three day period as it did the rest of the month. Because I was on Time of Use and a broken meter had just been changed, it was quite clear that an error had occured when the meter was switched. Yet the clarity of my logic got me nowhere for the first ten minutes. It was only after about twenty minutes, that the employee on the phone agreed that the company would reread the meter and send me another bill.

And guess what? The second bill showed that I owed over $30 less than the orginal bill.


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#2. POWER COMPANY SENDS ME A CHECK
For $1000

In another similiar situation, I started having odd things happen when I turned on the power. Several devices stopped working such as the water heater, several electric blankets, and a portable computer that was charging up. An electrician came to check and found that the electricity coming into my house was 220 volts instead of 110 volts.

Then he dropped a bombshell. He said, "It is my understanding that the electric company is responsible for providing the correct power into the house. If they do not, then they should compensate you for any damages. They will not volunteer this, or tell you, but if you keep asking you will find out that this is the case." When the power company came to repair the lines, no one volunteered that I was due some money for the damages that had been done.

I put together a list of all the things that had been damaged. It added up to over $1000. Then I called the company and asked for compensation. After much hemming and hawing, I got a man on the phone who asked me specifically what had been affected. Fortunately I had the list.

Eventually after a visit to my house to see the damages and a thorough review of the list, the power company sent me a check for about $1000.

So the lesson is that while power companies may act like you have no choice, in fact you do. And as an informed consumer, they will eventually yield if you have a valid complaint.


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