Are there power bill problems in Painesville?

Posted at 4:28 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 20:41:57-04

Some people in Painesville are shocked with their power bills. So much so, they called our investigators to dig into their concerns.

“My jaw dropped…I was sickened,” said Loren Wakeman when she got her power bill. The actual usage was $177, but then there was an additional $166 for a Power Cost Adjustment fee.

Another woman who lives in the same development Heisley Park showed us her bill which was $174 for usage and $163 in adjustment.

“Even people who have a 2-person home are getting $300 bills,” said Wakeman.

Leonard Meeks lives in the development, too, and told me he’s been getting higher bills for months. “A little odd being a brand new construction house and it was twice as much as we were paying for a rental in Painesville Twp. just a few miles down the road,” he told us. He wondered if anyone else had these kinds of problems and, through social media, he had dozens of responses to a recent post questioning power bills.

Interim Painesville City Manager Doug Lewis did not want to go on camera with us. He said he wants to look into this a bit further. He did explain the city has its own power plant but the adjustment fee comes from the additional power the city needs to purchase and transmit for the community.

Lewis also said a new hydro-electric contract that the city is in is more expensive, but shouldn’t be a reason for all of the higher costs.

We checked with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and because Painesville runs its own electric plant, it is not regulated by the PUCO. Plus, only investor-owned utilities, not city-owned utilities can be part of the Electric Choice Program where people can shop around for power.

“We’re pretty much stuck paying the bills whatever they happen to charge,” said Meeks.

“We don’t have the availability to go elsewhere for electric so we’re stuck,” said Wakeman. When we asked how that made her feel she said, “I think it’s horrible.”

Lewis told us they are willing to have a meeting with those who have concerns and residents can have an energy audit on their homes. However, residents pointed out to us the homes in Heisley Park are newer homes that are already more energy efficient.

Stay with Newsnet5 as we continue to follow the power issues in Painesville.