PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Several Pinellas County residents were shocked when they opened their Duke Energy Bills for this month and the month prior. Some bills have skyrocketed triple or even five times the amount homeowners typically owe.
Aaron Smith-Levin has lived in his Clearwater home for six years. The absolute max electric bill he’s ever received was $300 in the middle of summer, with the AC set at 70° full-time. In mid-September through mid-October, his bill leaped to $1,765.22. His next bill, which he just received this week was $750, triple what he paid for the same month last year. He called Duke Energy and was told perhaps a power surge during the hurricane damaged his AC unit. He called and got his AC inspected and there was nothing wrong with his unit.
He posted about his bill on Facebook and found out dozens of homeowners are receiving sky high bills and wondering what’s causing the problem.
Tricia Morrissey’s bill has double and in some months tripled in the last year, with no explanation or changes in household. The a/c has been checked, she installed a new hot water heater.
ABC Action News contacted Duke Energy and found out they have a high bill team that can help with out of range bills. They can go out and test meters too, if a homeowners bill seems particularly out of the ordinary. They can also provide energy efficiency checks for any customers. While bills were estimated during the hurricane, Duke energy resumed normal billing for the month of October. They did not know of any large span issues with customer bills.
One good option for homeowners is to call the Public Service Commission. They take consumer complaints about high utility bills and can ask as a middle man to work with the utility company to get your bill lowered.
They can be reached at 800-342-3552. The line is staffed Monday through Friday 8AM-5PM.