Connectiv double billing : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Conectiv's bills anger customers Some say they've been overcharged

By BILL YINGLING Staff reporter 01/14/2000

Conectiv customers, many complaining they were charged too much for electricity, clogged the utility's telephone system this week.

Company executives blamed the billing problems on a new computer system installed in December.

Delaware Public Service Commission staffers said they also received numerous complaints about Conectiv's bills. They've asked the company for an explanation. Conectiv said it will respond in writing today.

"This is a basic and a vital service, and customers need to feel like they're getting their questions answered adequately and the service provided to them in a reliable way," said Bruce Burcat, executive director of the commission.

Not all bills are incorrect, said J. Mack Wathen, Conectiv's director of finance and government affairs. Many customers are just confused by a new billing format.

Conectiv executives say they are working out the flaws in the system. Customers should study their bills for inaccuracies, the company said, so credits or corrections can be made to utility accounts.

Executives are waiving late fees for this billing cycle. They say corrections to the system may not be complete for several months.

"We certainly apologize to customers for any inconvenience," Wathen said.

The new billing system is the latest challenge facing Conectiv's customer service operation.

After power outages in July when customers complained of not being able to reach the company by phone, regulators launched an investigation into the way Conectiv handles customers and their complaints. The PSC also is examining the reliability of the company's electricity supply system.

"Things to me have changed," said John Sacher, a teacher and customer who lives in Brandywine Hundred.

Sacher said he received a $414 bill this month. He said he usually pays about $210 this time of year.

-- (glitch@here.and.there), January 15, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ