ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Navy veteran Robert Podlaski is disabled on a fixed income and has always used budget billing with RG&E. It means they take the average amount per year and divide it monthly for your bills.
“Basically you pay 12 equal payments of that amount,” he said. Podlaski and his wife Marlina paid $200 a month. They were later dropped from budget billing over a billing error — and since August, their statements have been all over the place: $274, $559, $199, $327, and $695.
Some bills have even arrived a day apart: the same billing month, with different amounts.
“Every time I talk to RG&E, the figures change,” he said.
There are also past-due amounts of up to $55 dollars that add up. Podlaski said he’s spent too much time on the phone going back and forth, and he’s had it. Here’s his plea:
“What do I owe you, and how do we get this done?”
RG&E did say in a statement to News 8:
“RG&E is committed to being a good corporate citizen and community partner. Our number one priority is to provide safe, reliable service to our customers and value to the communities our employees call home. Like many companies, we have faced pandemic-related staffing challenges that have effected response times in our call centers, but we are actively recruiting and training new team members to join our existing 750 RG&E employees.”Shelby Cohen, Senior manager, Corporate Communications – New York
Podlaski said being a disabled veteran on a fixed income, some of the bills he can pay. But others — like the $695 — he just can’t.
“It’s horrendous. You can’t plan on anything else,” Podlaski said. “You can’t plan on food, you can’t plan on anything.”
RG&E did tell him his larger bills are “off” and they plan on refunding him. His payment plan was to be back around $200 per month. However, “the very next day, it was back up to $559.01”
Podlaski says our region needs more options, and companies that are capable of proper customer service. “RG&E is a monopoly. They can do whatever they want,” he said.
The Public Service Commission investigation into RG&E is still ongoing. They said to News 8 in a statement:
“The Commission takes service quality and billing very seriously. Department of Public Service staff is actively investigating/scrutinizing service quality in RG&E’s on-going rate case and will provide recommendations to the Commission on areas of improvement. Ensuring that customer bills are sent out timely and accurately is the singular responsibility of the utility, and the Department will hold RG&E accountable for any billing errors while ensuring customers are held harmless.”Public Service Commission
Podlaski and his wife have filed complaints with both the Public Service Commission and the Better Business Bureau.