Richard Evans could not believe his eyes when he saw his most recent electric bill.
"$2136 and some change," he said. "I was kind of shocked because all you see is this bill and it was half-inch high letter that say 'past due.'"
However, the retired county worker never knew that he was past due because he had not received a bill in 15 months. When his daughter called SoCal Edison to find out what was going on they told her that their computer system malfunctioned.
"They changed over their computer system about a year and a half ago and somehow there were thousands of people like me that weren't picked up," Evans said.
Evans said the company offered to arrange a payment plan in order to collect that $2,100,
"Even with the payment plan you know it would be difficult for a lot of families," he said.
But according to the energy company's policy, Evans was not responsible for paying all that back.
"That particular instance was an error on that customer service rep's part," said spokesperson Ron Gales. "There's a regulation in California for investor-owned utilities. If a bill is delayed by more than three months, a customer is only responsible for the most recent three months of charges.
SoCal Edison said that this error happens to 1% of their customers during routine processing. However, since the company provides power to about 5,000,000 people, that 1% equals roughly 50,000 customers receiving big, delayed bills.
"This can be a stressful experience, not the best customer service, and we take responsibility," said Gales.
Even with SoCal Edison taking responsibility, Evans said the company needs to show more concern for its customers.
"This could be devasting to some families," he said.
SoCal Edison said that these billing disputes can be researched and resolved simply if customers reach out to them.
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