Letter: Shocking electric bill

Have you received your April Allegheny Power Co. bill? We did and what a total shock. We live in Amissville in a very small 1,000-square-foot home. We have a brand new energy-efficient heat pump with propane back-up, an Energy Star television, clothes dryer and no dishwasher. Our April electric bill from Feb. 8 through April 13 (64 days) was $618.73. Unbelievable! It works out to $9.67 a day for our tiny house. Included in this preposterous bill was $258.52 for the actual electricity used, $160.62 for distribution service (supposedly a fixed monthly cost for reading my meter, billing service line maintenance and equipment) and $180.63 for something called level purchase power rate. According to the person I talked to at Allegheny Power this reflects the 30-percent increase the company received.

Our friends just bought a new energy-efficient home in Chester Gap and their bill was more than $800, $275 of which was for distribution service and more than $200 for the level purchase power rate. Sixty feet across the street, a neighbor’s bill was slightly more than $130, $20 of which included the distribution charge and $20 for the level purchase power rate.

There is a statement on the back of the power bill that states the customer distribution charge is a fixed monthly cost for meter reading, billing, etc. Shouldn’t this charge then be the same for all households? Why the disparity of $200-plus dollars from house to house? Allegheny Power will not give a direct answer other than to say “that’s what it is.” What a wonderful way to conduct a customer service-oriented business!

Calling Allegheny Power leaves you understanding no more than you did before you called. Its standard response is “that’s your bill.” When asked why the surcharge is so much higher than you neighbors, the company’s reply explains that that is how much it costs to read your electric meter. Please . . . Our meter reader uses binoculars to read the meter without getting out of his truck even though the truck is probably within 10 yards of the meter.

I believe it is a blessing that we are entering the summer season because there are many economically challenged families with children and retirees that will have their power cut off because of their inability to pay their energy bill.

R. Douglas Willard

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