Tips to check the accuracy of your electric bill and get help paying it

Published: Jan. 29, 2018 at 5:42 PM EST
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West Virginia's Public Service Commission is sharing tips for people to check the accuracy of their electric bills and get help paying them.

The WVPSC says customers should remember that electric bills are based on usage and unusually high electric bills are common in winter.

No rate increases have been implemented in the past year for the four largest electric companies operating in West Virginia: Appalachian Power Company, Wheeling Power Company, Monongahela Power or Potomac Edison.

If customers receive a bill they believe is inaccurate, they should first contact their electric utility directly.

There are several steps that can determine if the bill is accurate:

First, check the reading on your meter and compare it to the ending reading on the recent bill. The reading on the meter should be higher than the reading on the current bill.

Second, if the bill appears to accurately reflect the usage, the customer can conduct a “breaker box test” by turning off everything in the breaker box. Once all breakers are in the off position the meter should completely stop moving, indicating zero usage. Then the customer turns the breakers on one at a time, observing after each breaker is on to determine if something is causing the meter to move really fast, possibly indicating a problem with an appliance. If the breaker box test does not reveal anything unusual the customer may request the company send a technician to check their meter.

Finally, if their bill is accurate, the customer can contact the utility and request a deferred payment plan to amortize the bill over a set number of months or to be enrolled in an average monthly or budget billing program.

Additionally, in the "Related Links" section of this story, we've provided links to several resources to help customers pay their utility bills, including the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, WV 211, the Dollar Energy Fund, and Mon Power/Potomac Edison's Energy Assistance Programs.