Tuesday, July 22, 2008

PECO is Charging Me for Their Error

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to do the right thing. Allow me to illustrate:

Shortly after I moved in to my apartment in October, 2007, I received a letter from PECO saying that a recent meter reading showed power usage at my address. They instructed me to fill out and return an application for service — otherwise, they'd shut off my power. So I sent in the application.

In November, instead of the expected bill, I receive another copy of the exact same letter. Yet my power was still on. Confused, I filled out the application a second time and mailed it in. So they sent me another application in December. Yet I still had power. Mystified, I gave PECO a call and explained what had been happening. The representative apologized for my trouble and told me my account began as of that day — I wouldn't be charged for the previous two and a half months of service. Cool.

January comes, and with it...another please-apply-for-service-or-we'll-shut-off-your-power letter. Oh for crying out loud. I filled out the application a third time and mailed it in. Like clockwork, they mailed me another letter brimming with empty threats in February. And another in March, April, May, June...

We still had power and we still hadn't seen a bill. Whatever PECO was doing with all my ignored applications was beyond me. It became apparent that we could consume free electricity indefinitely without PECO ever knowing.

But we decided to call PECO again. We figured that if we called one more time and they still refused to charge us for electricity they'd missed their chance — we were getting tired of begging the giant energy company to take our money. Heather talked with a representative who told her our account began as of that day — we wouldn't be charged for the previous eight months of service. Their bad, their loss. Sweet!

Then we get a bill for $800. And every PECO-employed cretin we've spoken to since then has heard us explain the situation, admitted to making countless errors (while making a few more), told us they understood, and concluded with an uncompromising "pay up".

Huh? PECO wouldn't know we were alive if we hadn't pursued them. In fact, the only reason they're charging us for usage since last October is because we told them when we moved in. Add to that the fact that they conceded the company's error and promised not to charge for the previous eight months' service, and charging us becomes downright reprehensible.

We've told them they can expect to hear from our lawyer. They'd do well to listen.