ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Continuing News 8’s coverage on RG&E and some of those sky-high bills some of you have been getting —some for $3,000 $5,000 $8,000, even $12,000 dollars.

News 8 sat down Monday with the CEO of RG&E and NYSEG, Patricia Nilsen, and she announced they have hired 40 new billing specialists — a move they hope will help clear up some of the confusion.

Nilsen said the company has already hired 160 new people, and they plan on hiring 120 more for various positions, for call centers and things of that nature. 

Nilsen said they have been sending out around 40,000 bills per month at a time when they, like many other businesses, lost workers due to the pandemic. They have also been seeing a lot of ‘billing exceptions’ in all this. Nilsen said normally, the system they have just process those bills and ship them out. RG&E plans to put those new billing specialists to work to give a closer look at these bills to ensure accuracy. 

“Having the extra 40 billing specialists to handle any sort of hand calculations —either an estimated read, or an actual read that’s higher than expected— those are going to kick out of our system because we want eyes on those types of situations… so those people, it’s a bit of a training time to get them up to speed, but they will be a nice supplement to the people we already have looking at those hand-calculated bills, and all of what we call ‘billing exceptions’ to make sure they’re getting a good look and getting good attention, and moving faster through the queues so that we can get them to our customers more promptly.”

“Yeah, the current balance due is about $5,667,” said RG&E customer Tony Proietti telling News 8 about his ‘exorbitant’ bill. He said he reads his own meters and knew whatever this was– doesn’t reflect his usage. Figuring his bill out wasn’t easy. 

“I spent about an hour and a half on the phone. As they were working towards a resolution, the call dropped,” he said.

Eventually, he said RG&E told him he had to pay in full. But he said– after New York State opened up an investigation into his bill, RG&E now plans to correct his amount.  

” (RG&E said) ‘Oh, we’re so sorry about this, it turns out you were incorrectly billed,'” he said.

A portion of Proietti’s bill. He said RG&E is working to adjust the amount due.

Nilsen is asking for ‘patience and persistence’ from both the company and the customers. 

“It’s patience and persistence on our part knowing that we have to do better. It’s also from our customers’ perspective — making sure they speak to us. If they have any questions about their bill, they can reach out to us. We’re going to put the amount in question on hold,” said Nilsen.

She added, “If a customer is at all having sticker shock on a bill, if they reach out to us, we’ll go ahead and put that under investigation and we can either put the amount on hold, or we can enter into a payment arrangement if we determine ‘yes in fact the customer did use the energy.’ By no means do we expect a customer to go beyond their means to pay a bill.”

Nilsen said some of the other issues relating to bills are customers using more energy, the estimating algorithms assuming less energy, and energy prices of course– have gone up.