CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission has ordered Mon Power and Potomac Edison power companies to eliminate estimated meter readings and do the actual monthly meter readings for its customers.

The PSC issued its final order Wednesday in connection with a general investigation it began a year ago following numerous complaints about the companies’ estimated readings and billing practices. Mon Power and Potomac Edison, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, got behind in meter readings following the 2012 Derecho and Superstorm Sandy. It used its meter readers to perform other duties.

Mon Power spokesman Todd Meyers told MetroNews Wednesday evening the companies would take the necessary steps to comply with the PSC’s order.

“We want to make things right for our customers and we do understand that when you do have a number of consecutive back-to-back missed readings, many times due to inclement weather, it can lead to a hardship,” Meyers said.

The companies are currently fully staffed with meter readers. Meyers said it’s likely other personnel would have to be hired to complete actual readings every month for all 520,000 customers the two companies have in 37 counties. The PSC has ordered the companies hire rovers and backfill absences to get the readings done.

The PSC wants the actual readings and billing to take place “as quickly as possible, but no later than July 1, 2015.”

The complaints began to roll-in against Mon Power and Potomac Edison in the months after those major 2012 storms. Meyers said unfortunately many customers had their bills underestimated and when actual readings took place the bills were way more than the customers were used to paying.

“That’s what caused a lot of the consternation was having these large true-up bills. But at the end of the day it’s important to remember that people only are billed for the amount of electricity they’ve consumed,” he said.

The PSC also ordered the companies to submit monthly statistical metrics to the commission through Dec. 31, 2015.

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  • kery

    I find it amazing that the WV PSC will allow the party to breach the contract(tariff) and have the other party (ratepayers( pay) pay for the breach of contract. WOW! Only in WV will this happen and only in state where the mindset is to hold the utility company harmless from any increased cost even if the negilence led to such breach of contract. Contract law 101 violated revise the legal books.

  • Woodchuck

    PSD water departments should only charge for water used as well. I always pay the minimum but never use that much water. Charge for what is used stated one legislator. Should apply to all utilities!

  • kery Fries

    Not after July 2015, WV PSC said to abolish in tariff customer meter readings.

  • Reddykillowatt

    You can read your own meter and e-mail the numbers to Mon Power. They will, in turn, charge the correct amount.

  • Kery Fries

    WV PSC put down deterrents into the decision. No payment when they fail to read your meter. No requirement for the company to absorb cost of increase meter reading based upon their own failure to estimate the amount of electricity used leading to be true up reading, Lesson for WV PSC violate tariff and worst you will receive is requirement to comply with tarifff. Incentive to not complay and bank profit margin without WV PSC ever requring an account of what money the utility spent on that year. BS.

  • Kery Fries

    See statement

  • Kery Fries

    WV PSC decision holds no accountability for Pot. Ed./Mon Power.

  • Eye for an eye

    Well they will just pass on the expense of continuous meter reading to the consumers. Why aren't our meter readings transmitted over the wire each month. I know that technology exist. Why aren't we doing that now??

  • northforkfisher

    A lot of people around got slammed with large bills during the said period. We used to have a great power company until first energy got their greedy fingers on them. During the Derecho we waited four hour for power, because someone in Pennsylvania had to give the order, instead of letting the guys who done the work turn it on.

  • Keryn

    You missed the biggest part of this story, WV Metro News! Who gets to pay for the extra cost of those additional meter readings (FirstEnergy estimated they would cost $5M, or an additional .5% rate increase)? THE CUSTOMERS DO! The PSC told FirstEnergy to simply add the additional meter reading costs to its pending 15% base rate increase. Only in West Virginia are the customers PUNISHED WITH A RATE INCREASE when the company fails to do its job!

  • ViennaGuy

    I personally don't have a problem with reading it every other month, but it needs to be read at LEAST that often.

    • Robert

      Read it every other month ... and send a bill every other month.

      That's the way it used to be, worked fine.

  • jojo

    Rates are increasing , notice was put in this month's bill. Resident rates going up 13 dollars plus per month . Wanting PSC to approve...meanwhile, they are starting to charge!!

  • JB

    About time. Mine have always been all over the map whwn estimated and Mon Power didn't allow us to send in our own reading.

    • Jesse

      I am not sure where you got your information, but as an employee for Allegheny Power and now First Energy, I have taken meter readings from customers for 14 years. The option is available to a customer, either by phone or online. I would never hesitate to take a customer reading when our estimate is wrong. According to my monthly log, I have already corrected a dozen this month, and I no longer work in customer service. However, customer satisfaction is still important to me.

      • Keryn

        Nobody's accusing employees of failing to take meter readings. The problem was that readings being called in on any other day besides the exact billing date were being prorated and noted as "estimate" on the bill. This FirstEnergy policy, along with many others, confused and angered customers. Many felt that their efforts at reading and calling were wasted and that their bill was still inaccurate. FirstEnergy ruined anything that was ever good about the Allegheny companies. And now the customers must pay for FirstEnergy's mistakes.

      • kery Fries

        FE does not change customer readings outside of 3 day window. That is what testimony showed.

  • Mr.P

    How many times have I witnessed Mon Power employees reading meters from a company vehicle using binoculars,that's just plain laziness!

    • I'm honest at least

      For a person who has no clue what any job involves to call someone who is working lazy is plain ignorant. I guess you go to a gas station buy a cup of coffee and spend the whole day telling the clerk how to do everything.

  • Kevin

    I wonder how many millions they made by doing that? Now that they have to read them every month that's more manpower and they will have to raise the rate to cover it.

    • Keryn

      Congratulations, Kevin! You saw through the PSC's smoke and mirrors on this order!