News10NBC Investigates: RG&E customer with $900 credit gets power shut off

[anvplayer video=”5179433″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – RG&E says it’s coming out of the billing and customer service storm it’s been in for more than a year now, but some customers beg to differ.

You’ve likely seen the new commercials RG&E is running locally, promising that it is pulling itself out of the slew of issues News10NBC and state regulators have been investigating for more than a year. But it appears many customers are still experiencing frustrating billing situations. 

Christie Hawn and her two sons moved into a townhome in Henrietta last July. It took a while for her to get her first few bills from RG&E. By the start of 2023, she was all caught up.

“The first week of January, I paid $1,548 and then I had a zero balance they told me,” Hawn tells news10NBC. “And by the end of the month I was getting $3,000 bills, I was getting like three bills a month, all for different amounts.”

So, she did what any of us would do.

“I kept calling, they told me at the beginning they could clearly tell it was wrong. All my gas bills were estimated, so, they put a note in my account that it needed to be adjusted every time I called,” Hawn says.

She waited for an adjusted bill that never came, instead someone else showed up.

“I came home with a whole car full of groceries and the RG&E man pulled in behind me. And he told me what was going on, and I told him what my side of the story was: that I had been on the phone and they kept telling me that it was going to be adjusted, it was going to be adjusted, it was clearly wrong and he said there was nothing he could do and he shut it off on a Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock,” Hawn recalls.

Hawn says she was told she needed to pay her past-due balance by 10 a.m. the next day or she would have to wait until Monday to get her power turned back on. She couldn’t get the cash together in time so, she and her boys had to get a hotel for the weekend. 

“I had to pay $665 (to turn the power back on) even though I knew it was wrong all along,” Hawn says. 

After she paid, RG&E agreed to audit her account.

“They did some investigating, went all the way back until last July, and they gave me an $889 credit.”

Turns out, RG&E owed her almost $900.

“I wish someone would go back and actually listen to the phone calls and see how, how, just I don’t know, I was definitely mistreated, nobody knows what’s going on, every person has different information,” says Hawn. 

A spokeswoman for RG&E tells News10NBC, the utility did pull the calls that Hawn made to try and rectify the situation.

Alexis Arnold, RG&E: “We are working to train our newer customer service representatives. We’ve spoken to you in the past about the amount of time this is going to take, it’s going to take some patience but we are working to get through these kinks. There are issues that do come up as with anywhere so, we are dedicating our staff to training those new customer service reps so we can really truly offer and get back to offering the standard, the high standard that our customers have known.”

Jennifer Lewke: “Are there any policies in place to audit accounts before you shut them off so that you’re sure the problem is on the customer’s end and not on RG&E’s end?”

Alexis Arnold: “Well, what I can say is that our customer service reps are walking our customers through the steps in terms of what is needed to help them pay their bills and offer those ways to guide them and give them assistance.  I can say in this case that our reps, have worked with this customer and has resolved the matter and rectified the situation as of today.”

Hawn tells us after News10NBC reached out to RG&E about her issues, she got a call apologizing for the shut off and offering an additional credit to cover the cost of the hotel stay she was forced to pay for when her power was cut. 

More about RG&E billing issues: