Homeowners Say Progress Energy Bills Went Up With New Meters
Posted February 28, 2006 8:50 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Have you noticed a change in your power bill? Rates did go up, but some people are questioning the timing of a sudden jump -- around the same time they received a new meter.
Progress Energy is used to rate complaints in the winter months. But, this year the Triangle saw the fifth-warmest January on record, and many customers complain their electric bills still spiked. Some suspect the new meters, but Progress officials blame something else.
Frank Just owns an 1800-sq. ft. home in North Raleigh. After Progress Energy installed a digital meter in mid-December, his electric bill jumped from $80 to $189.
"It's just too much of a coincidence," said Just.
Still, Just rationalized it could have been a colder December, and his space heater and holiday lights might have had an effect. Then, he received his January and February bills. Compared to the same months the year before, records show his bills basically doubled. He called the Utilities Commission, who said the higher bills weren't unusual.
Progress Energy spokeswoman Heidi Deja said the company started changing out meters last July. Yet, most of the complaints came in with higher usage during the colder months and a 4.4 percent fuel rate increase.
Progress Energy stands by the switch from old to new. Still, for customers like Frank Just, the skepticism rises with his energy bills.
Progress Energy argues higher bills could also be related to energy efficiency problems in homes. Customers with complaints and questions are urged to call customer service for help.