ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When it comes to the high bills facing RG&E customers, there’s no “one” answer. “It’s a number of different things,” said Patricia Nilsen, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E.
She says some of it is being identified as delivery charges, which she says have actually not changed. “It’s the supply portion. RG&E’s required to bill customers for the actual supply price.”
That price comes down to things she says we’ve all been hearing about. “The war in Ukraine, and certainly supply prices we’re seeing over the COVID period and since have gone up,” Nilsen said. She added this winter, RG&E is anticipating another hit with supply prices.
And on the billing irregularities for those on community energy programs, Nilsen says they’re working on it.
“Our bills were getting kicked out of our system, we had to manually process them,” she added. “We just installed a new system this past weekend.”
The New York State Public Service Commission confirmed Wednesday they are actively investigating the quality of service from RG&E. Here is their full statement:
The Commission takes service quality and billing very seriously. In the PSC’s most recent service quality report, RG&E was penalized $900,000 for missing its bill service quality metric. Department of Public Service staff is actively investigating/scrutinizing service quality in RG&E’s ongoing 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.
The case information can be found on the PSC website.
And Nilsen said some of the billing issues come down to indoor meters — and customers not having a reading in a while. “Once we get inside and get the read, we have to bill them based on actual use — which could be more or less than what they’ve used in the past,” she said.
And to make the lives of customers easier, RG&E is rolling out Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) “smart meters.” Gone will be the days of meter readers coming to your house. Coming out over the next few years, you’ll be able to read your meter online, or on your phone via the RG&E app.
“They will have actual bills every month. And they will be able to make some powerful decisions on their energy use, if they choose to do so,” she said.
The smart meters will also alert RG&E should your power go out. “…without them having to call us. Although, we encourage customers to call in any problems they have,” said Nilsen.
If you’re having trouble paying a high bill, she says there are options. Please reach out. “We’ll work with them to make it easy,” she said, and added, “we hear our customers and their concerns about billing — and we do apologize to those who have had billing issues with us in the past.”