January 31, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Some Douglas County residents are up in arms over their end of year power bill.
Many local residents are complaining of receiving a shock when their electric bill for December was double, in some cases triple, what an average month’s bill usually looks like.
Tom Gauntt, a spokesperson for Pacific Power, says there are some specific reasons that bills were higher in December than the previous several months.
“We know folks have been concerned.” Gauntt said in a statement to News Radio 1240 KQEN.
First, Gauntt says, it was a particularly cold month with snow and below freezing temperatures keeping heating systems busy.
He also pointed out that due to the winter break for schools, and subsequent school delays and closures, more occupants were inside homes using lights, electronics and needing warmth.
Lastly, Gauntt noted that due to inclement weather, meter readers weren’t able to reach many homes during their scheduled reading time. When meter readers were finally able to reach some meters days later, it had extended the period of billing. Gauntt pointed out that as meter readers returned to their normal schedules, the following bill for January would have reflected fewer days on the bill for those homes that were affected.
The spokesman explained that the rates are set at the first of each year and cannot be changed before the first of the following year. However, he said that knowledge “doesn’t change your shock when you open the bill.”
Gauntt encourages customers with complaints to contact the customer service line for Pacific Power, 1-888-221-7070. He said customer service agents can help people work out a payment plan for the larger bill, sign up for the equal pay plan to prevent large, unexpected bills in the future, or search through other options available to customers.
Information on energy saving tips and incentives can be found at the Pacific Power website.