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Electric Bills 'Shock' Sandy Victims

new york long island power authority bogus estimated electric usage

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#1 Hum

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 00:14

LIPA customers who spent weeks without power got zapped with their normal electric bills — as if the outages never happened.

The clueless utility charged Sandy-soaked Long Island residents an estimated rate that covered the entire billing cycle, and the statements made no mention of potential refunds to account for the prolonged blackouts.

Jonathan Saporta was slapped with a double whammy by the Long Island Power Authority — a $649 bill for the Long Beach home he left in October and a $281 bill for his new Great Neck pad.

He also is expecting a $1,700 bill for his storm-ravaged restaurant, Jake’s Wayback Burger, which is in hard-hit Long Beach and remains without power.

“I can’t get LIPA to acknowledge my existence on earth to talk to me about anything,” he ranted. “But I guess they had power, so they could print my bills. Nice, right?”

Saporta, 33, moved to the Great Neck home on Oct. 1 and got the bill in the mail on Wednesday for a cycle covering 43 days — including the two weeks he spent in the dark following the Oct. 29 storm.

Even though he switched his account to the new address on Sept. 26, he still received an e-mail bill for the Long Beach house on Nov. 10 — and somehow it was $390 more than the previous month.

“I am not paying any of my bills, that much I promise,” said Saporta. “They can put me into collections, and I’ll fight them tooth-and-nail.

“It’s simply criminal.”

Michael Hilferty, 29, an attorney from Long Beach, was e-mailed his bill — which was about a dollar more than the previous month — as he chowed down on some turkey.

“To get this message on Thanksgiving was crass and classless. It’s just heartless,” he said.

His oceanfront building was flooded with 7 feet of water and inundated with 4 feet of sand, covering the LIPA meters.

Hilferty left the apartment, which remains dark and boarded up, and has been staying in Connecticut.

Yet he was hit for 29 days of electric usage, including delivery and system charges.

David Wasserman, 40, of Merrick, tried to report online the difference between his actual and estimated electric usage.

“I got some message that said, ‘Service records show your usage would be higher. Please call an operator for further assistance,’ ” he said. “No one ever picked up.”

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#2 Simon-

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 00:36

Of course no one ever picked up, everyone else who was hit is also calling them up at the same time as you. Surprising that there is no website statement/Facebook/Twitter messages from the company, but it only takes 2 braincells to realise that it's a billing error they will most likely send out revised bills on their own accord since they would become aware of the mistake VERY quickly as soon as people started receiving them. Just don't pay and wait. No way that anyone will pay their bill, no way would they be in a position to force collections on anyone in these circumstances, and the only way they are going to get cashflow again is when they get around to clearing up the mistake.

edit: They are probably off for the Thanksgiving weekend too, and that's why no website/facebook/twitter updates or calls answered.

#3 OP Hum

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 00:49

I think the power company is simply greedy.

#4 FlintyV

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:08

Don't really see this big deal with this, and don't really see it being greedy when they're charging for a service they provide.

It's an estimate from the electricity based on their previous usages.

#5 Growled

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:09

I think the power company is simply greedy.


Me too. They surely didn't read the meter.

#6 *RedBull*

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:15

Yeah I hate stuff like that. It sucks more for those who have direct billing to their accounts.

#7 OP Hum

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:18

Me too. They surely didn't read the meter.


In some cases, there's no meter left to read.

#8 nekkidtruth

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:21

Don't really see this big deal with this, and don't really see it being greedy when they're charging for a service they provide.

It's an estimate from the electricity based on their previous usages.


Oh give it up. There's no way you could possibly defend this stupidity. Is it greed? Probably not, more an error if anything. But it's still stupid. Don't pretend like it's not. It's not like nobody knows about Sandy and or what it's done.

#9 Alladaskill17

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:22

Probably a billing error. I highly doubt those bills will stand, if anything for PR reasons..

#10 Growled

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:27

In some cases, there's no meter left to read.


My point exactly. :D

I know how the power company does things. We had an ice storm a few years ago and we had our power off for a solid week. Our power bill never came down because they estimated what our bill should be according to our past bills. Needless to say, after thousand of complaints they read our meters much more regularly now.

#11 shinji257

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:30

Now they won't stand since there is publicity to it. If it never made it out to the public I think they would of tried to get away with it.

#12 adam7288

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:31

Nothing to see here folks. This is how electric bills are done. Until they do a meter reading (usually once every 2 months) it goes by estimated use.

The customers will be credited once the reading occurs.

#13 FlintyV

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:53

Oh give it up. There's no way you could possibly defend this stupidity. Is it greed? Probably not, more an error if anything. But it's still stupid. Don't pretend like it's not. It's not like nobody knows about Sandy and or what it's done.


As I said it's an estimate based on the previous usage of the household. How do the electricity companies know if each individual house is receiving electricity and using how much?

Until they get an actual meter reading they give out an estimate. It's really not a big deal.

#14 nekkidtruth

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:05

As I said it's an estimate based on the previous usage of the household. How do the electricity companies know if each individual house is receiving electricity and using how much?

Until they get an actual meter reading they give out an estimate. It's really not a big deal.


"Oh look! A hurricane just ravaged the east coast! I bet they're all still using electricity though." Yeah...I'll go with stupid mistake. Thanks anyway.

#15 pack34

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:12

I think the power company is simply greedy.


Well, I can pretty confidently confirm that's true. But I'm betting that this most likely has to deal with lazy meter workers. This will especially be an issue when you have older buildings where the worker has to physically visit your house and read the meter on the outside. If there's any chance of inclement weather (rain, cold, debris) or even if the meter is on the inside of your house, the worker will normally simply guess. With guessing what many of them do is to not use the same number every time but vary it to make it look like they are doing their job. Normally you're sure to get an accurate reading maybe once a quarter or yearly.