Consumer Watch: Changes to LG&E policy leaves some customers in the dark

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by Kyle Brown

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 2, 2009 at 7:10 PM

(WHAS11)-Our Consumer Watch this week is an update for LG&E customers who are mad about some changes in the utility’s billing cycle.
A change in policy during the spring has led to a huge increase in complaints.
Some of those upset customers called WHAS11’s Andy Treinen to help them out.
When the lights go out, and you’re out of money little bills are a big deal and getting your electricity shut off digs even deeper into your pockets. 
“After they done that I had to pay my bill plus I have to pay a $135 deposit plus I have to pay a $30 reconnection fee,” said Ann Winbun.
Both Ann and Jack McKay called our Consumer Watch line upset that LG&E shut them off, something they say had never happened before, and the timing couldn’t be worse
“Unemployment’s over 10% and you know this is really no time to be doing this kind of thing to people who are struggling just to make ends meet,” said McKay.
Unfortunately the McKay’s aren’t alone. People all around Louisville are getting shut off at an alarming rate. And they’re calling LG&E to complain like never before.
The problem started in April when LG&E eliminated its “Select Due Date” program for customers and since then complaints are way up.
From 75 complaints between April and December of 2008 to 270 between April and December of this year
Parent company E-ON is now in negotiations with the attorney general and Kentucky Service Commission in search of a solution.
Wunbun says she was warned with a brown bill a day before her cut off. That brown bill is used to let people know their payment is past due and needs to be paid.
But Lane McKay says she never received one. When she called to ask if there may have been some mistake in the system, she says she was told there was no chance of a mistake and the computer says the bill was sent out and McKay’s power was turned off.
That shut off triggered an automatic deposit of $300 and a $30 reconnection fee and the McKay’s are adamant no brown bill was ever sent
Chris Whelen says the new system is more cost effective, and customers benefit when the utility keeps down costs.
But customers like Jack McKay aren’t buying the company line by customer service .
“She said well I’m sorry that’s just too bad. I mean this is our policy this is just what we’re going to do.”
If you’re in a jam you should call LG&E to work out a payment plan and see if they will be able to work with you
If there’s a consumer issue you want us to look into, e-mail us at consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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