H. TRUMAN CHAFIN
November 13, 2012
CHARLESTON - The Public Service Commission (PSC) of WV has released information to customers within the state regarding the American Electric Power (AEP) bills and those from several other utility agencies for the most recent billing cycle.
Under normal circumstances, residential customers receive an electric bill that reflects their actual usage one month and an estimated bill based on last year’s usage for the same time period. In their efforts to restore service as quickly as possible following the heavy snowfall resulting from Hurricane Sandy, AEP, Monongahela Power, Potomac Edison and Wheeling Power have all reported employees were taken off their regular duties, such as reading meters, to assist the restoration crews in the field.
As a result, more customers than normal will receive “estimated” rather than “actual bills” in the next billing cycle. Unfortunately, the estimated bills will not take into account that a customer may not have had utility service for a portion of the month for which the bill was estimated.
The PSC wants to assure customers that the bills will be accurate or “trued up” as of their next electric bill based on an actual reading. In other words, after paying an estimated bill and the next bill based on actual usage, a customer will have paid no more than what was used.
Commission rules require telephone companies to pro-rate bills when service is interrupted for specified periods of time (according to the company’s tariff) due to any cause other than the negligence or willful act of the customer. Telephone customers who were without service during Hurricane Sandy should contact their phone company to request a bill adjustment.