A family living in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park was shocked to discover their monthly electric bill was more expensive than most families make in an entire year: $107, 625.16.
Kathy and David Rajter had used 2,236 kilowatt hours the previous month and received a bill for for $276. But the following month, their bill said the couple had used closer to 1,647,499 kilowatts. There's almost no way the Rajter's could use that much energy in one month even if they tried (unless perhaps Doc Brown of Back to the Future movie fame, has been hiding out in their garage!)
"The taxes (and fees alone) on the bill were $16,000," Kathy Rajter told the Chicago Sun Times.
Electricity prices in the Chicago area are already an estimated 15 percent higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And this is exactly why Oak Park had recently switched to the new third party provider, hoping to save some money for the suburb's 51,000 residents.
And to add to the anxiety, the Rajter's home is signed up for automatic bill payments. Thankfully, they contacted Integrys, who supplies the local electricity to their home, and ComEd, who handles the billing.
"I have automatic withdrawal, and I have overdraft protection," Rajter tells the Sun-Times. "Imagine if I'd just set the bill aside — it would have wiped out my entire checking and savings."
While neither company is exactly sure how the strange meter error took place, ComEd assured the Rajter's that the six-figure total would not be deducted from their account. In fact, ComEd has reset their bill to zero while they investigate the issue.
"On (Friday), I'll be on the phone making sure I still have money in the bank," Rajter told the Sun-Times.
Unfortunately, this is reportedly not the first billing issue Integrys has faced since taking over energy supply duties in Oak Park. A report in the Oak Leaves publication warned that an unidentified group of individuals has been attempting to pull off a scam in the area where residents are tricked into signing up for more expensive energy services offered by a different company.
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