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Really annoyed with electric company. Is this a normal policy?

Posted by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM
  • 33 Replies

So today while I was out and my sitter was home with the kids, someone from the electric company came by and shut off the power alleging that we did not pay. We have had our electric bill automatically deducted from our account for the past five years. Obviously we have never been late or had any issues. My husband receives the bill via email but he has been out of town. There was no reason for the bill not to have come out and admittedly I did not notice that it had not come out of the account. So yes, that part was my error.

After the sitter called me to let me know what happened, I went on line, verified that it had not come out of my account, then went to the power company's site and paid the bill immediately. I called the company to verify it was received and learned that for them to turn my power back on, I had to pay a $25 reconnection fee AND a $335 deposit! What the Hell?! If the issue had initially been my fault, I would not have been as furious, but being that it was due to their system that the bill was not collected, that seemed really unreasonable, especially being that the issue was rectified within 30 minutes of being brought to my attention. Apparently, they must follow their policy no matter the circumstances, so I was told by the employee.

What really makes me even more angry is the amount of money they asked for. I rolled my eyes and paid it no problem. However, I can't help but think about people that are struggling with their bills. If someone is struggling and gets a few days (10 days to be exact) behind, how on earth are they ever going to get caught up when they have to pay triple the amount of their usual bill to have their power turned back on? That is insane!

To add insult to injury, I asked what would happen to my $335 deposit. Apparently I get that back if I move out of their service area. So I asked if that meant that on the day I go in to cancel my services, I will receive a check for that deposit on that day. Oh no, I could expect to receive that check 4-6 weeks after discontinuation of services.

I am sure no one probably read all of that, but I had to vent...

by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM
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by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM
Our electric company requires a $250 deposit that you get back after a year of paying on time
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by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Yes, it is legal.  No, it isn't the best policy to have.

Your best bet is to check the account like clockwork from here on out.  WHY didn't it come out?

It may also help to write to management at the company and let them know how upset you are.  Write as far up the chain as you can find.

I would have asked to talk to a supervisor, then their supervisor, and so on and so forth until I had that fee knocked away.  It takes persistance, but a longtime customer with no other problems should have been given consideration.

If you truly feel wronged by the company, write to the BBB.  Let them know that you fixed the issue within 30 minutes then got cash pulled out your nose just to get the power back on, and your opinion of the fees and any bad service you had while trying to resolve the issue.

by Gold Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I have also had some issues with my electric company.

They have some weird, seemingly irrelevent / inappropriate fees, in my opinion.

It was a huge hassle dealing with them and all their crazy policies when I was transitioning from an old relationship to a new one, and trying to get our names all switched around for the new and old residences. 

by Desiree` on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:14 PM
1 mom liked this

 Contact the PUC...

by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:18 PM

 I haven't had that issue with the electric company but with the gas company.  We didn't even do anything wrong.  We had to pay a 300 dollar fee to turn our gas on because the people who lived in our house before us never paid their bill.  It was so unfair but about a year after we moved in they refunded us and we didn't have a gas bill for several months.  It sure pissed me off at the time.

by spitfire_bobbie on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:21 PM

I've never know a power company to disconnect for being 10 days late. Usually you have to be at least 1 full month behind.

by Sapphire Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:23 PM
I'm not sure, I've never had that happen. I know here they are only allowed to hold the deposit a year if you're in good standing.

Honestly I would look for a new company.
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by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:25 PM

I had thought that too. I could even understand the ten days if it was a huge bill, but it was a $115 dollar bill!

Quoting bmw29:

I've never know a power company to disconnect for being 10 days late. Usually you have to be at least 1 full month behind.

by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:27 PM
I live in ca. Bc.of new regulations the company is getting fked and in return the employees and customers have to pay the price. They are much less forgiving now.

Although I've never heard of power going off after only 10 days of being late. There's always a second.notice and so forth. Maybe that's just here.
by spitfire_bobbie on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Can you look up thier exact disconnect policy? I looked up the one for my power company and this is what I get.

Procedures for Termination of Service to Residential Customers for Nonpayment of Bill
Including those with Special Needs

Bills for residential electric service are due and payable on the "date of the bill" and become past due 25 days after the "date of the bill."

If the bill is not paid, a second month's bill is rendered, showing a prior account balance. The bill may include a disconnect notice or the disconnect notice may be separately mailed giving a minimum of 10 days but up to approximately 30 days notice of disconnection. Copies of the disconnect notice are sent to any third party designated by the customer. The disconnect notice includes the requirements of the Commission's rule 103-352 as follows:

  • The total amount owed.
  • The date and amount of last payment.
  • The amount required, and date by which the customer must make payment or an arrangement, to avoid disconnection of service.
  • The availability of a deferred payment plan including contact information to request such a plan.
  • A statement informing customers of the protections afforded to certain customers December through March who provide a medical certificate and certify inability to pay.
  • A statement suggesting customers to contact assistance agencies.
  • The availability of review by the Office of Regulatory Staff.

If payment is not received nor an arrangement made within approximately five days of the scheduled disconnection an additional disconnect notice is mailed to the customer in accordance with 103-352 b. A copy of the notice is also mailed to any third party. Additionally, an attempt is made to reach the customer by telephone.

For customers identified as "special needs" (i.e. those who have provided the Company a statement regarding the medical condition of a member of the household), an additional notice is provided when personal contact has not been made. Before a disconnect order is dispatched, a field representative attempts to contact the customer at the residence and in the absence of such contact, a door hanger, "urgent notice," is left, requesting contact from the customer to avoid disconnection of service.

For customers qualifying for the winter protection program provided for in 103-352 a. 3, disconnection of service is waived until expiration of the medical certificate during the months of December through March.

If there has been no response to the notices, an order is dispatched to disconnect service, and the field performer attempts to contact the customer. The field performer is authorized to defer disconnection if payment is offered or due to any observable conditions that indicate termination of service may be harmful to a member of the household.

If service is disconnected, the representative leaves a notice at the residence informing the customer of the disconnection and the requirements to have service restored.

Disconnections for nonpayment are only performed Monday through Friday, 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Customers whose service has been disconnected can contact Duke Energy Carolinas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to arrange for reconnection of service.

Third Party Notification

Duke Energy Carolinas offers a third party notification program to its residential customers and notifies customers annually of this program via bill insert. The program is also mentioned on Duke Energy Carolinas' web site and other publications.

Severe Weather Suspension of Disconnection

Using weather service data from various weather zones across the Duke Energy Carolinas system, the Company automatically suspends disconnection of service to all residential customers under the following weather conditions:

  • Winter - Disconnection is suspended any time the average temperature for the next 24 or 48 hours is forecasted to be 32 degrees or below.
  • Summer- Disconnection is suspended any time the heat index is forecasted to be 105 or higher at any point during the next 24 or 48 hour period.
Quoting mommyrustina:

I had thought that too. I could even understand the ten days if it was a huge bill, but it was a $115 dollar bill!

Quoting bmw29:

I've never know a power company to disconnect for being 10 days late. Usually you have to be at least 1 full month behind.

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