BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Shirley King is retired and lives in a one-story Brighton home. Usually, her gas and electric bills are about $200, but her most recent RG&E bill was for $1,247 — and due by the end of the month.

“Since June, the bills have not reflected accurate electric or gas usage,” King said.

She says she has called over two dozen times to try and resolve the high bills. 

“First they said ‘you’re getting credits from your solar panels,'” King said. “I said ‘I don’t have solar panels.’ Then they said ‘well, you’re getting credit from a solar farm you’re a part of.’ And I said ‘what are you talking about?'”

In all of this, King found out via social media on Nextdoor she’s not alone. 

“There were, I don’t know, 15, 20, 25 people who had responded saying all the same, all the same [things],” she said.

Residents not only from Brighton, but also from areas like Pittsford chimed in with similar expierences.

RG&E Tuesday responded to News 8, saying the Town of Brighton participates in a program that uses “Source Power,” and RG&E is not responsible for the charges. In recent bills, they said Source Power included charges not allowed to be included in the RG&E bill. 

“We learned about this problem last week, and obviously there’s just no excuse,” Bill Moehle, Brighton Town Supervisor said.

Moehle says multiple people have gotten bills with excessive charges, some over $2,000. Trying to get to the bottom of it has been a challenge, and there’s no clear answer. 

“We filed a formal complaint with the New York State Public Service Commission, both against RG&E and against Source Power,” Moehle said.

Source Power, he says, is a community solar program. If it works right, Moehle says it’s supposed to actually lower monthly bills. The issue, he believes and like what King was told, is that extra “solar credit” that’s behind the charges.

“Where do you get off sending someone a bill like this?” he asks.

RG&E also said Tuesday with these bills, they are working on reversing some of the charges, and plan to issue new bills to customers. 

“I’ll take whatever they can do to fix it. But, this just isn’t how you conduct business,” King said.

Full statement from RG&E:

“The Town of Brighton participates in Community Choice Aggregation, a program approved by the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC). As part of that program, the Town chose Source Power, an Energy Services Company (ESCO), to provide customers with their energy supply. Source Power bills customers for that service though the RG&E bill. Customers also have the opportunity to opt into Source Power’s community solar program and receive credits under a program approved by the NYSPSC. RG&E is not responsible for and does not benefit from the Source Power charges, as they are passed directly to customers and all payments are remitted back to Source Power. In the most recent bill, Source Power included charges that we have determined were not allowed to be included in the RG&E bill under the programs approved by the NYSPSC. Therefore, RG&E is reversing these charges from Source Power and plans to issue new bills to customers with only the allowed charges. Impacted customers will be communicated with accordingly and RG&E is taking every effort to ensure customers are billed with only the allowed charges from ESCOs and has notified the NYSPSC about this issue.”

Julio Saenz
Manager, Corporate Communications – Western New York