Electric bill higher lately? Here’s why

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — FirstEnergy customers might be seeing higher bills lately and the company says there’s a reason for it.

In a statement to FOX 8, First Energy says Northeast Ohio customers with indoor meters likely received estimated bills during the pandemic since they were unable to obtain actual readings.

“To help ensure the health and safety of the public, we – along with all other utilities – were not permitted to read meters located indoors due to pandemic restrictions that took effect in March 2020,” the statement said. “While most of our meters are located outdoors, we do have situations where indoor meters are located in commercial and apartment buildings.”

Because of this, customers were likely undercharged during the months they received estimated readings. But when an actual reading at their home is taken, they will likely receive a higher bill for an increase in consumption and the number of days in the billing period.  

“They are not being ‘overcharged’ for electricity; they are simply receiving a larger bill to make up for usage they were not billed for during the months they received the lower estimated readings,” the statement said.

First Energy says estimated bills are often calculated by looking at the same period from the year before. When an estimated reading is used, there are usually some adjustments made, either because the previous estimate was too high or too low. 

“We understand this can be frustrating for our customers, and we encourage them to contact us at 1-800-589-3101 to set up payment plans if they are unable to pay the full balance on their account once they receive the adjusted bill based off their actual usage,” First Energy said.

Customers can learn how to find and read their electric meter here or they can contact a customer service representative at 1-800-589-3101 to submit their reading and/or receive an adjustment.

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