News10NBC Investigates: Hilton Man Gets $7,622 Bill from RG&E

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HILTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — For months, News10NBC has been reporting on major billing issues at RG&E.  Some of you have told us you’ve gone months without being billed and then gotten clobbered with a huge one, or RG&E hasn’t shown up for scheduled appointments and trying to get through to customer service has been a nightmare.

But the story of a man named Phil Plow may take the cake. 

Like all customers, the Hilton man says he’s used to some fluctuations in his RG&E bill. “We’ve been here for about 12-13 years, the bills have always been, $100, $200, $250, we’d catch up once and a while and have to pay $300 or $400 because of the budgeting being off or the estimates being off,” Plow tells News10NBC.

Plow and his wife are never late with their payments so when they opened their September bill, they nearly fell off the chair. “It says we owed, $7,600 and obviously, I was shocked,” he recalls. “I thought there was a typographical error or something like that.”

The bill was $7,622.26 to be exact.   Plow called RG&E right away. “Long hold times, for each call they would transfer me to somebody else who then would say they couldn’t help me, no warm transfer or anything like that they would just drop me off on somebody else and I’d have to start all over again from the beginning with the situation and what’s going on,” he says.

Finally, someone told him they had balanced his bill after 2 years’ worth of estimates. “They said that they haven’t been able to get access to the meter since July 2020 which is astounding to me since I’ve been working from home full-time since July 2020 and could have let them in at any point,” Plow says adding that he has provided a number of actual meter reads too. 

Still—customer service reps continued to tell him the bill was real, the debt was owed and he had to pay for it. “She said well, it seems to line up with the reading we got in July and she could put me through to the credit department and they could put me on a payment plan or something along those lines,” says Plow.

Plow had seen News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke’s recent interview with the President of RG&E and thought maybe she could help get through to someone who could check his meters or better explain the massive bill. 

After News10NBC reached out to RG&E, a billing manager pulled up Plow’s account and found not only did he not owe the $7,622 balance, he was owed a credit of $1,118.39. 

In a statement, a spokesman for RG&E says, “Due to our customer privacy policy we are not able to comment on individual accounts. We encourage customers with billing questions to call us at 1-800-743-2110. Customers may experience higher call wait times due to call volume at the outset of the week, so we recommend contacting RG&E from Tuesday through Friday. Like many companies, we are currently facing challenges filling vacant positions and we are implementing new strategies to recruit applicants.”

If you’ve run into a billing issue with RG&E and are not satisfied with the outcome, you can file a complaint with the NYS Public Service Commission here.