JEFFERSON COUNTY, WV- For several months, customers in West Virginia have been complaining saying they have been over-charged on their electric bills. Now, the West Virginia Public Service Commission is launching an investigation into the billing practices of Potomac Edison.
A letter from the Public Service Commission to the State Senator Herb Snyder explains that the commission is now investigating the billing and meter readings conducted by Potomac Edison.
"They feel it's appropriate to open a formal investigation, I certainly support that process that will provide the Public Service Commission, their staff and other interested parties to really take a look at what has contributed to the issues that have been described by customers," says Delegate Paul Espinosa Sr. (R-Jefferson) District 66.
Many local officials realized this could be a major issue, after a public hearing was held a few weeks ago in Jefferson County, where residents addressed the issue, saying Potomac Edison officials haven't been taking meter readings consistently and instead have been getting charged for estimates rather than accurate amounts of energy used.
"Several of my constituents who were at the meeting, I was able to take their information and pass it along to first energy officials and first energy was then and has been, has in the past been responsive in trying to address those needs," says Espinosa.
"I'm glad they are going to initiate the investigation, I just hope they cover all the areas for meter reading estimation of bills and any other issue that are appropriate," says George Rutherford, the President of NAACP-Jefferson County Branch.
Rutherford says he is one of many who have filed a complaint. He says many of his fellow residents are still encountering issues with Potomac Edison.
"I talked to one resident in the Fox Glen area, she was almost in tears, because she got something of an 800 dollar electric bill. She never had more than a 200 dollar electric bill in her life and now she has an 800-something dollar electric bill. She says she now have to go to Community Administrative and other places to try to find money," says Rutherford.
Potomac Edison officials say they are cooperating with the Public Service Commission and are submitting all their information towards this investigation.
"We'll be talking with the commission closely and sharing data with and giving them an understanding of what we are doing, what we have done to try to improve the estimates bills situation in the Potomac Edison area in the Panhandle of West Virginia," says Todd Meyers, the Potomac Edison spokesperson.
"My hope is that out of this investigation, there will be some recommendations that will come out and again will help prevent this from situation from reoccurring in the future," says Espinosa.
Officials say they do not know how long the investigation will take. In the meantime, they're still encouraging disgruntled customers to contact Potomac Edison, if they are still having billing issues.
Public Service Commission officials say if your billing issues have not still been resolved after contacting Potomac Edison, then you are invited to reach out to the Public Service Commission.