EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSUTILITY BILL ALERT
from Eyewitness News Online
Public Service Commission Alerts Consumers About Utility Bill Issues
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 9, 2012 11:22 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
When you receive your next round of utility bills, you might suffer some “sticker shock,” but don’t be too alarmed. The Public Service Commission of West Virginia is alerting residents to be prepared because some of the bills could be estimates rather than based on actual usage.
Normally, the PSC said residential customers receive an electric bill that reflects their actual usage one month and an estimated bill based on last year’s usage for the same time period, according to a news release from the PSC. Power companies in the state responding to Superstorm Sandy, however, had to have all reported employees taken off their duties, including meter readers, to assist crews restoring power. Many customers will receive estimated bills rather than actual bills as a result. The PSC said the estimated bills will not take into account the fact that a customer may not have had utility service for a portion of the month in which the bill is estimated.
Electric bills will be adjusted on the next billing cycle, the PSC said.
Meanwhile, West Virginia American Water reports that while it was not necessary to take meter readers off their regular duties to assist with restoration, some meters were inaccessible in areas because of heavy snowfall. There could be an increase in the number of customers receiving estimated bills this month as a result. Customers who had service disruptions should expect to see lower bills due to decreased usage.
The PSC advises that telephone customers without service should contact their phone company to request a bill adjustment.
Finally, customers whose homes and businesses are heated by gas could receive up to three estimated bills in a row in situations where meters were inaccessible or there were safety concerns for employees, the PSC said.
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