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Audit Finds State Paid Too Much For Electric Bills

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state recently uncovered some errors with its utility bills. Despite efforts to save money, it paid $1 million too much.

Adolf Viol keeps the temperature at 80 degrees at his Garner home, so his air conditioner will not run as much.

"I like to save money to spend on something else, you know," he said.

The state also wants to save money. It recently had Progress Energy audit its power bills and usage.

"What we found is that there are billing errors that need to be corrected," state administrative secretary Gwynn Swinson said.

"We're very proactive in looking for errors and when we do find errors, we correct them," said Julie Hans of Progress Energy.

Progress Energy officials said technically it did not overcharge the state. The company said the state is saving money now because it is getting a lower rate by using power during off-peak times. Officials said consumers could also switch to this type of billing by running major items from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Progress Energy officials said they review all bills that are abnormally high or low before they are sent out.Consumers can call the Progress Energy or use its

Web site

to analyze your power bill to make sure you are not paying too much.

"We do have official energy auditors that can come to your home and help you identify some ways you can reduce your power bill," Hans said.

The home energy audit service is free. Progress Energy says its meter reading is 99 percent accurate. As for excessively high billing complaints, the state has received nearly 200 against both Progress Energy and Duke power since the first of the year.


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