October 3, 2001
What’s a consumer to do when the public utility people have the upper hand? I have been living in the same place now for almost a year and have been battling Sierra Pacific for most of it. My 3-year-old daughter and I are the only ones who live in a small, two-bedroom duplex with enormous electric bills.
I first noticed that my bills were abnormally high around December and January when I was never there. I would leave my home at 7:30 a.m. and not return until 11 p.m. for three solid weeks. I couldn’t believe there was not change in my bill. I asked the neighbor next door, who is a stay-at-home mom with three kids and a husband who’s home in the evenings, about her bill and I couldn’t believe it when she said it was the same amount as mine. My mouth dropped open in astonishment. The neighbor on the other side, an older lady who is home all day and keeps her TV on 24/7 and heat at almost 80 degrees all day, said her bill was considerably lower than mine.
At that time, I called Sierra Pacific, who told me it wasn’t right to compare my energy usage with other homes. (These are all the same duplexes.) I kept calling, frustrated, and in March, they said they would have someone come out and check it. By June, while I was still very concerned and had heard nothing, I called again and had to ask for the check again.
Finally, two weeks later, they came out. Much to my surprise, everything checked out fine. I stood there in disbelief, but could do nothing about it. He just kept saying $1.87 per 24 hours of energy usage was a good rate. I still argued, to no avail. Then last month, my bill was considerably lower. I thought, “Wow, they figured it out.” But this month, I get my bill and it’s almost the same rate as December’s bill when the heat was running, and I was gone for a whole week on vacation. Again, I call, and you know what she says to me? “Well, maybe they underread your meter last time.”
Come on! Then she says, “Why didn’t you call to complain last month when the amount was low?” My answer was, “I thought you guys had straightened out my billing!” Anyway, I am at my wit’s end. We have no power in any of this. They make the rules and we have to pay. Three tier S what’s this and delivery service charge? Does anybody out there agree? Does anyone know if we have rights? Looking for some relief in Minden S