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Woman Shocked After Getting $2,113 Electric Bill

by Russ Bowen Wednesday September 17, 2014    9:08 AM

SEATTLE -- A woman in South Seattle got the shock of her life when she opened up her power bill this month and saw that she owes more than $2,000.

Linda White says she's used to seeing $20 power bills, so she thought the latest bill was a mistake. But she soon realized her $2,113.56 electric bill was not a misprint.

"That's a lot of money, and a lot of money I don't have," she said.

It turns out the meter on her rented home had been broken as far back as June of 2010, according to Seattle City Light. It was only recently that Seattle City Light realized the meter was stuck. Even the meter reader didn't catch the fact that White was being undercharged.

Seattle City Light averaged her previous usage to come to the total for what she now owes. Even though the meter issue was a City Light malfunction, the utility is required by law to collect payment for any electricity that was used.

"If any one customer is not paying for the energy that the consumer uses, that shifts the cost to everyone else," said Scott Thomsen with Seattle City Light.

Thomsen said City Light has worked out an agreement with White to set up a payment plan of $88.07 a month.

"It's built up over a long period of time, and we want to give her an opportunity to get that taken care of without having to take all of it in one single bite," he said.

White says she still won't be able to pay that amount on her fixed income.

"I can't pay it. I just can't pay it," she said.

City Light says consumers like White have to pay close attention to their bill. If it shows zero consumption, like White's did, there's likely a problem.

Despite the massive bill, White feels sure it will all somehow work out.

"I try not to worry about it, because when you give it to Him you got to let it go. So I'm not gonna worry about it. I'm just gonna let God fix it for me," she said.

Seattle City Light is working to place White on a lower income discount plan for future electric bills. The public utility is not sure yet if that will be retroactive.


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