Problem Solver: ComEd meter wires are crossed, customer is frazzled

Rogers Park condo dwellers paying for neighbor's electricity bill

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David Wilhelm and his wife moved into their Rogers Park neighborhood condo in June 2011, and by January their monthly electric bill seemed out of whack.

How, they wondered, could they be using more electricity in winter than during the summer? After all, their air conditioner runs on electricity but their furnace uses gas.

Besides, their condominium measures just 900 square feet. Their bills seemed more appropriate for something twice that size.

Wilhelm said he called ComEd and in late February a technician came out. A short time later, he received a letter from the utility saying his meter was functioning properly and his bills were accurate.

After several more months of seemingly inflated bills, Wilhelm went to the condo building's utility room in April and compared the meter number on his bill to the meter number that was labeled for his unit.

Turns out, the number on his bill matched the meter for his neighbor two doors away.

He called ComEd again, and another technician visited May 1, verifying that he was paying for his neighbor's electricity, Wilhelm said.

The technician promised the issue would be fixed within 48 hours and he would receive a refund for the amount he had been overcharged, Wilhelm said.

But that didn't happen.

With the meters still switched the following week, he called ComEd again. This time, he was told it could take the billing department up to 45 days to correct the issue.

Incensed, he filed a complaint with the Illinois Commerce Commission in May.

In response, ComEd sent him a letter saying it needed to schedule a day when the owners of all 22 condos in the complex could be home so the utility company could verify which meter goes to which unit.

Wilhelm said the commerce commission marked the case "resolved."

It wasn't.

In the months that followed, Wilhelm worked with the condo complex's management company and ComEd, but no date was set for the complexwide meter check.

Amid a flurry of calls, yet another ComEd technician visited Nov. 1. He again checked the meter, again verified it was wrong and promised to put in a request for the changes to be made.

On Dec. 1, Wilhelm received his most recent bill. He was still being charged for the wrong meter, so he and his wife emailed What's Your Problem?

"It's infuriating," he said. "There's not a whole lot I can do about it at this juncture. If we stop paying them, they're going to chase after us with a collection agency and our credit is going to suffer."

Wilhelm said he has no idea how much he has overpaid but can't fathom why, almost a year after he first complained about the meter mix-up, ComEd hasn't fixed it.

"No one seems to care," Wilhelm said.

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