Questions about accuracy of power bills

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Have you ever opened your electric bill and felt it's "too" high?  Dominion Virginia Power is getting an earful from some customers questioning their winter power bills. Some of them also called 12.

Dominion Virginia Power admits an increase in calls from people challenging unusually high bills from December through February. But the state's largest electric utility maintains those bills are accurate.

"He said based on your usage last year. I made a lot of changes since, he kept saying based on your usage last year," said Tasha Bullock.

Tasha Bullock is an NBC12 producer who's purchased energy efficient appliances and implemented many 'Go Green' tips to conserve and cut cost.

"Power strip for the television, Play Station, DVD player, cable box, everything in this room is connected to the power strip. When we leave a room, we just turn it off, everything goes off," Tasha said.

She was shocked when her $150 a month bill doubled, and peaked at $344 in February.

"If it's your job to come out and read the meter, to get an accurate reading; come out and read the meter. Don't just look at my usage last year," Tasha said.

Olga Smith got a bigger bill after she unplugged hundreds of Christmas lights.

"Even higher than what it was in December. It went from $220.05 to $239.43," said Smith. "How can I unplug all that electricity and have an even higher bill the next month?"

It was the cold weather Dominion says -- 20 percent colder than last year.

"In each of these cases, these meters were read. Their bills were based on actual meter readings," said Pam Kemper, Dominion Virginia Power Billing & Credit Services.

What the fuel fee increase? It jumped from $30 to $75 on Olga's bill -- and up to $117 on Tasha's.

"There's no profit to be made on that. It is based on your usage," Kemper said. "It's the cost that we incur for the various fuel sources that we use to produce electricity."

Your heat source uses the most power. Dominion says the benefits of conservation will be easier to see as the weather warms…and those winter bills are still due.

"I just want to know that I am not being taken advantage of. You're this big company. If I don't pay my bill, you're going to turn my power off," Tasha said.

Dominion Virginia Power says meters are read, 99-percent of the time with smart technology. The meter reader doesn't have to leave the van to read your meter. Also, Dominion has energy saving tips for summer and winter - just click here.

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