Duke Power Company, South Carolina
I am very unhappy with Duke Power Company. I moved into my home in South Carolina in February of 2012 (when I say moved in, I brought a lot of my boxes over). Well the house I had purchased had not been lived in for 2 years. The guy that lived in it before was an older gentlemen and nothing had been done in years. It was basically unlivable and needed everything from electrical work, to totally gutting out all the flooring. During the first several months, because of the condition of the house, I was not living at my home, but at my boyfriend's house. I visited the house occasionally to check on it, but didn't use power or have anything plugged in. This includes no refrigerator, stove, microwave, (literally nothing). I paid a basic service fee for these several months and I always paid this bill on time. Mid way through June is when I had the first construction work done to my house. I got the flooring layed down, moved the rest of the way in, and got new appliances, a microwave mounted and hooked up, and a new air conditioner. I also got a TV and had satellite installed by dish. About a week after the flooring was done, I noticed that Duke Power was replacing my meter that was outside with a new one. I got a letter in the mail about a week after this stating that my power meter was faulty and that they took a reading from the meter and used this to base my power bill for the last 5 months (yes, this means they based 5 months worth of bills on a 7 to 10 day reading). They said I owed them $269.15. Also in the same letter, they misquoted the price on the bottom portion of the letter, stating I owed $261??? I'm guessing that was an error.
Anyways, so I called Duke Power Company today, trying to explain all of this to them, that I didn't think it was fair or reasonable to try and bill me for 5 months based on an estimated usage. I explained to them that I wasn't living there at the time, that in no way could their estimate be even remotely accurate (You can't do an estimate on a power reading from when someone is living in their home and using power, to estimate the power charges for months when I was not living there, that's an obvious statement right? Apparently not!!. I also explained that I didn't have in the previous months, the two huge power consumers (my air conditioner and my TV) until June. That alone would majorly affect my power usage. I went on to tell them that I had proof of the television installation, proof of the mail going to my boyfriends house, proof of the air conditioner purchase, pictures and receipts for the flooring installation and purchase etc....
Here's where I get really mad....I was very patient with them on the phone. I listened to everything that the customer service representative had to say. I told her again, you can't take a reading of when I am living here and use it to calculate a rate for when I wasn't. She stood up for the power company over and over again; we went in circles back and forth back and forth. She wanted to pretend like the power company was doing nothing wrong, that they were actually doing me a favor because if I was using more power, they weren't charging me for it because the meter was faulty. She also told me by that if they didn't charge for an estimated 5 month usage bill, wither it was completely accurate or not, that Duke Power would not be making any money. At this point we reached our stalemate; I asked to talk to a supervisor which she reluctantly put me on with (after many more conversation circles back and forth). Well that went no where. There supervisors will defend there employees and company, and based on the "hold time" I am positive that the service representative gave her an ear full, before I ever was connected with her. The only option she gave me was a payment plan. They weren't willing to adjust the bill I received by even a little bit. She also said that I was only paying $7.22 as the basic service charge before they caught it, and that there service charge was $9, so I wasn't even paying their minimum amount. Tell me again, how is that my fault that they were charging $1.78 under the minimum amount? IT'S NOT!!!!
I know that there has to be other people out there that are afraid of getting their power shut off, or just gave into the power company's demands even when it wasn't fair. I ask that you file complaints with the governor of South Carolina or what ever state you are from against Duke Power. This company may be powerful, but if enough people complain, they may receive fines, or get in some sort of trouble or eventually a big law suite. Also I would be interested in getting enough people together to file a legal complaint against them. The more the better!
Thanks for listening :)
Monetary Loss: $269.