Downed power lines left thousands without power following the two storms. (Source: WALB)
James Taylor is a concerned resident and customer. (Source: WALB)
Taylor says his bill went up this month, even though he had no power. (Source: WALB)
Stephen Collier is the Utilities Administration Assistant City Manager. (Source: WALB)
Meters were lost following the storm. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Albany residents who were without power for weeks after January 2nd storms are concerned after getting their latest utility bills, but representatives from Albany Utilities said they have an answer.
When Taylor looks at his Albany Utilities bills for the past few months..he is clearly not happy.
"It didn't go up an exorbitant amount, but it shouldn't have gone up any," said Taylor.
A tree on the power lines January 2 left him and his neighborhood without power for eleven days.
"I told my wife, I said well we ought to have a nice low bill this month that will help us out because we spent $25 a day on a generator," said Taylor.
But when he got his bill in the mail, it wasn't what he expected. His bill went up from the month before, even though he lost power.
"So I started talking to other people on the road and everybody on the street, their light bill went up too," said Taylor.
Folks at Albany Utilities said they have an answer. Stephen Collier is the Utilities Administration Assistant City Manager. He said there were several meters that were destroyed during the storm on January 2. Therefore, the company couldn't see how much electricity people used.
"What's common in the utility industry is you if can't get to the meters to get the reads, you perform an estimation," said Collier.
So that's what they did. Collier said they couldn't cancel the cycle because it would affect all customers.
"Customers that aren't affected by the storm will be adversely affected because it will add numbers of days to their services and they'll receive larger bills," said Collier.
He said now that they are finding the meters, they will go back and look at last months readings. When they send out the next bill, it will be adjusted to offset any overages customers were charged.
"We want to err on the side of the customers so we are going to make sure we do the right thing," said Collier.
There were close to 35,000 bills sent in storm affected areas. Of those, Collier said fewer than 3,000 were estimated from the customer's usage in the previous month.
If you get your bill next month and there are no changes, Collier said you should call the company.
They will be handling some bills on a case-by-case basis.