Chili family gets nine RG&E bills in two months

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – RG&E says it’s making progress on the billing and customer service issues News10NBC has been investigating for months, but not everyone agrees. A Chili family had been working for weeks to try and get their billing problem resolved. An hour after News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke reached out to RG&E on their behalf, it was corrected. So, are things really getting better or does it depend on who you know?

Lowell lives in Chili. His home is about 2,200 square feet, so when he opened a recent RG&E bill, he knew something was wrong.

“June, I received a bill for $5,000 dollars,” he explains. “I immediately called them. I spoke to one of the reps, the rep said obviously something’s not right. We’ll send someone out to read the meter. So, they sent someone out to read the meter, a week later I get a bill and it’s $1,800 higher than the original bill!”

Then things got even stranger.

“In eight weeks, I received nine different bills with nine different amounts,” Lowell says.  Eventually, RG&E switched out his meter, but that didn’t help. “I received a bill last Friday for I think it was $5,000, and then Monday morning I received another bill for $6500.”

Lowell says eventually, he went down to RG&E’s main office in Rochester. He says he spoke with a customer service representative who said she’d look into the issue.

“Two days later I get a call from one of the supervisors, he leaves a voicemail saying the bill is correct, unfortunately, and that we can work something out, we can put you on a payment plan,” Lowell explains.

That’s when he called News10NBC.

“Then I get a phone call from a supervisor, the same supervisor who called me a week ago and told me that the bill was correct, (he) says we’re going to wipe the bill clean for you.  Well, not clean, but they were going to deduct $5,300 off the bill,” Lowell says. 

That works for him, but he wonders about others.

“There was several people in there that were complaining about their bills, and they put them on payment plans, they didn’t argue like I did,” Lowell says  

In a statement, a Spokeswoman for RG&E tells News10NBC:

As we’ve discussed at several points over the last year, some customers’ bills were complicated by estimated reads when RG&E was bouncing back from staffing challenges in its meter reading department. As we stabilized that staffing and started to obtain actual reads, complexity has arisen, with actual reads, delayed bills as we deconflicted the estimates and actuals, and then delays with payment when customers were working with us to resolve. All of these can lead to multiple bills. That said, we are now seeing fewer occurrences like this as our billing and customer service levels return to steady state. Customers are encouraged to contact us immediately if they receive a bill that is unusually high. More than 90 percent of calls are now being answered within 30 seconds in our call center, and we are eager to help customers resolve their billing questions, as we have with this individual. Sometimes coming in to speak with someone, as this customer did, or attending one of our many pop-up events out in the community, is the best way to address a concern.”

Rochester Gas and Electric has two pop-up opportunities to connect with customer service representatives. The Company will be at Parcel 5 for the city’s Midday Bash from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday and at New City Café on Parsells Avenue from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Customer service advocates will address needs, answer billing questions, and provide information on assistance programs. Limited energy efficiency kits will also be handed out.

File a customer complaint against any utility with the NYS Public Service Commission here.