Displaced Residents Question Utility Billing [AUDIO]
Residents in Sandy-damaged communities are telling Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari says that they're still being billed for utilities they're not using.
Vicari blames this on payment plans the customers signed up for that are generated automatically.
He says part of the reason is that customers haven't told their utility companies that they're not living in their storm-damaged homes. So he's urging them to do so.
Vicari says what's more, "some of the residents are getting delinquency bills from their different utility companies."
He says, "What we're trying to do is to work with the utility companies to let them know that if it's a storm-damaged area they should not send delinquency notices out."
However, JCP&L Spokeswoman Jennifer Young says they're not automatically billing customers in storm damaged areas.
Young says in the early days of Hurricane Sandy they blocked billing along the barrier islands and in areas where customers were unable to receive service. As repairs have been made to homes and customers have asked for their meters to be reset, billing for those customers have been resumed but she says they don't automatically resume service.
Vicari says they've instructed the County Office of Consumer Affairs to look into the "so-called" billing issues and to work with residents who contact them.
Young says any customer who believes they're mistakenly receiving bills or there are delinquency charges after Hurricane Sandy should contact the Customer Service Center of JCP&L's parent company First Energy at 1-800-662-3115.