CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-Berkeley, 16) says the power bills Potomac Edison’s customers are paying are not accurate at times.  “They need to actually charge people for what they use.  Period,” said Unger on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Earlier this week, he called on the state Public Service Commission to force Potomac Edison to stop estimating power usage each month and, instead, read each customer’s meter every month and charge for electricity accordingly.

Courtesy photo

Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-Berkeley, 16)

“If weather causes one (meter reading) not to be done one month, that’s explainable, but you’ve got to explain it,” said Unger.  “The way they’re doing it now, they’re not reading it every month.”  Currently, he said, several months of bills based on estimates are adding up to large amounts for Potomac Edison’s customers.

Todd Meyers is the spokesperson for FirstEnergy — the parent company of both Potomac Edison and Mon Power.  He said the companies are fully staffed with meter readers; however, poor weather conditions sometimes keep those meter readers from getting out, as scheduled.

“When you have several back-to-back estimates before the next actual reading, true-up bills can be higher than anticipated,” he said.  In the end, though, Meyers said customers “ultimately pay only for the amount of electricity they use.”

“Had we overbilled them during an estimated month, they would receive credit to their bill based on the actual reading,” said Meyers in a statement sent to MetroNews.  At no time, he said, is information concerning FirstEnergy power customers reported to credit bureaus.

Unger, though, said customers are being unfairly burdened because of bad decisions from Potomac Edison.

“Poor decision on top of poor decision on top of devastating storms on top of more poor decisions with no management thought of potential impacts on the customer,” he said.  “This is a pattern of behavior.”

He said the PSC should order Potomac Edison to (1) read each customer’s meter each month, (2) report the actual reading to the PSC for a minimum of one year, (3) take all steps necessary to have all negative credit information that may be reported to credit bureaus expunged from customers’ credit reports and (4) establish safeguards to prevent overbilling in the future.

The PSC launched an investigation into the billing practices of both Potomac Energy and Mon Power last year.  That investigation is ongoing.

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Comments

  • Tracyo64

    "... however, poor weather conditions sometimes keep those meter readers from getting out..."

    They can't get out in their 4-wheel-drive trucks, but I can't remember the last time my mail lady missed a day with her Subaru.

  • Levelheaded

    What they should do is let everyone read their own meter and call it in, and give the customer some credit off the bill. They could then read the meters once a year. I know the the unions would hate this idea, but it's a good one. You can read your own meter now but they won't give you any credit, so let them pay a meter reader $25.00 per hour.

  • krieger

    Their billing is ridiculous, they over charge and then refuse to explain when I inquire. Also beware of the "actual reading" although the bill says an actual reading was taken - it is not always true.
    I have had many discussions with coworkers and neighbors and the complaints and concerns are very similar.
    This needs to be investigated, please

  • R. Borror

    I'm a Potomac Edison customer,I get 2 estimated bills then 1 from an actual meter reading,my 2 estimated bills are always a lot higher than my meter read bill.

  • Voter

    The PSC should add Appalachian Power to the investigation as well.

    • jo jo

      Mon Power does the same thing. It belongs to First Energy, they may only read once in a 6 mo + period. I doubt if the customer gets any of the fee (based on that months useage) back when the don't use as much as estimated.

      • Tyrone

        I say this. When you go to the local food store do they not charge you for what you have purchased. So why do we the people even pay an estimated bill. These big corporations are making probably millions in profit every quarter. A high school drop out can write down on a clipboard the numbers what a meter says . No it is all about big profits for the big wigs sitting on there behind all day. making sure they get there bonuses .