Lancaster couple looking for answers following huge increase in - | WBTV Charlotte

Lancaster couple looking for answers following huge increase in energy bill

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)
LANCASTER, SC (WBTV) -

Energy is something most of use every single day, but it's not free. Duke Energy serves many parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, and sometimes mistakes are made. However, for one couple, a mistake has caused a massive headache.

“We will pay it, just give us a correct amount. Give us a breakdown, a printout of what you all have messed up on,” said a Duke Energy customer in Lancaster.

This customer turned to WBTV for help after months of receiving bills that were hundreds of dollars more than usual. The couple says the problem started near the end of last year at their barn, where they have a one-room living area. The meters were changed multiple times and once that happened, the customers say they received higher bills.

“So they have changed the meter three times. Three times," said the customer. “Then the October bill rolled in and it was $630 dollars. I called Duke Power because they changed the meter on September 14.”

The customer said that for months, they were given no clear answers on why the bills were increasing. The barn is not their actual home. The customer said there have been no issues at their actual residence with billing or payment.

“They said we had a $60,000 bill and come to find out someone else’s meter had been put on our barn,” said the customer.

Duke Energy responded to that claim with this statement:

During our investigation, a charge for $60,000 was placed on the bill incorrectly, but was removed immediately. A bill showing that amount was never prepared nor did the customer ever receive a bill with that amount on it, so they are not responsible for it. 

On Thursday, the couple received a service disconnection notice saying if they did not pay the nearly $2,500 balance, the power would be cut off.

“The bill for this place alone is usually $2,200-2,400 a year,” said the customer. “This just keeps dragging on and on and when you look at a bill for $2,500, that is a big bill.”

Duke Energy released the following statement to WBTV:

Because there were two meter change outs in one billing period, our billing system did not recognize the on / off readings in the correct order, resulting in the December and January bills being higher than normal for this customer. The customer contacted us about the bills, and we investigated it and that’s when we learned about that two meters were exchanged in one month. We’ve adjusted these bills to reflect the customer’s actual energy usage.

The customer’s service was scheduled for disconnection today, because they haven’t made a payment since October 2016. Even though they haven’t made payment in nearly five months, the disconnect order should have been held until they received a final corrected bill. We do recognize the customer has been in touch with us on multiple occasions to help resolve this issue, and unfortunately it wasn’t resolved until today. We deeply apologize to this customer for their experience and for the inconvenience it caused.
 
Customers should notify us of significant decreases or increases in their bills, especially if there have been no changes in their lives – i.e., new equipment inside their homes, fewer people living at the location – so we can quickly address any potential issues.

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