Electric Company Reimburses Woman $10,500 After Billing Her For Powering Nearby Streetlights For 25 Years

If you’ve ever wondered how much it might cost you to power the streetlights that go on every night near your home for say, 25 years, wonder no longer. One woman found out she’d been over-charged on her electric bill for a quarter century because the power company had her paying for the electricity used for nearby streetlights. She’s just gotten $10,500 back in her pocket.

Connecticut Light & Power paid up after it agreed that yeah, it had been adding those lights onto her bill, but claimed it was only because a previous owner of the house had agreed to take on that charge on purpose. Why anyone would ever voluntarily pay for something that usually isn’t a homeowner’s responsibility, we do not understand.

The New Haven Register says the woman discovered the error while trying to sell her house. A buyer was interested, and asked about how much she paid in utility charges. She took a closer look, and saw line items for two sodium vapor streetlights. She called up the power company, which told her about the previous owner’s apparent desire to overpay the electric bill

At first, the company just took the charges off her bill but weren’t about to pony up the cash she’d been charged for all those years. Until she called the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel to fight it. High five for sticking it to the man!

“I called CL&P, wrote letters, did it all, but they were unresponsive to any kind of reimbursement,” she said. “I really thought I was going to have to sue CL&P.”

The CL&P says now it’s very sorry, and has admitted it was in the wrong in the whole ordeal.

“We have reimbursed her in the amount that she was incorrectly billed plus interest and will be using this case as a learning experience to identify process and customer service improvements to be sure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” said a CL&P spokesman.

She received a check for $10,491.21, about $35 per month of over-billing, even though CL&P says it was really closer to $5,800 or $19 a month. Go ahead and check your electric bill right about now, just in case some extra streetlight cash is hiding in there. You never know.

Kevin Hunt: CL&P Pays Cheshire Woman Billed 25 Years For Street Lights $10,000 [Hartford Courant]
CL&P overcharges woman $10G over 25 years for street lights [New Haven Register]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.