A Maryland homeowner thought her solar panels were really paying off when she went a year without receiving an electric bill, but recently, a huge bill arrived.
Michelle Lewis thought it had to be a mistake because until then, the utility told her she had a credit.
“We were calling and saying, ‘OK, what do we owe you?’” Lewis said. “They said, ‘No, you don’t owe us anything. You have a credit.’”
Lewis said they hadn’t received a bill since April 2015. The solar panels were installed a year earlier.
“I’ve been telling all my friends, ‘You need to go solar. It’s great. I haven’t been getting bills from Pepco,’” she said.
Then they got a call from billing saying they owed $1,200 and should set up a payment plan.
“Initially, they had said this was just a billing glitch on their part,” Lewis said.
She wanted more answers but had a hard time getting them.
“I feel like a grain of sand on the beach and my calls just aren’t that important,” she said.
So she contacted NBC4 Responds, which reached out to Pepco.
“They’re returning my phone calls now a lot faster,” Lewis said.
Pepco assigned an analyst to her case.
Pepco said it does not discuss individual accounts but said it always works with customers to answer any questions or resolve issues about their bill, regardless of the circumstances, and it's actively working with Lewis to resolve her issue.
“I believe I used the energy,” she said. “I expect to pay for the energy.”
But Lewis, who is a math teacher, said she can’t figure it out.
“This is very difficult to read,” she said. “There’s three billing groups. There’s peak, intermediate peak and off peak.”
Plus, she has a solar bill, so she's trying to calculate what energy she's saved compared to what she used.
Since NBC4 Responds called Pepco, Lewis can subtract $600 from her electric bill -- a credit applied to her $1,200 balance.
She said Pepco offered to go through each bill and explain how it comes up with the cost for the electric used.
Pepco’s full statement:
"We always work with customers to answer any questions or resolve issues around their bill, regardless of the circumstances. We are actively working with this customer to resolve this particular issue. Customers can reach us in-person at our customer service centers or on our customer care line at 202-833-7500. We also encourage customers to visit our website pepco.com and download our mobile app for helpful information and additional ways to contact us or report an issue. While we cannot discuss any individual accounts, all of our efforts are geared towards providing safe, reliable and affordable service to everyone."