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Electric Bill Spikes Blamed On Smart Meters

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's a slow roll-out, but over 160,000 so-called smart meters have been installed by Duquesne Light, including one at Karen Mihalic's home in Brighton.

"It was installed this summer in July while we were away," Mihalic told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

And then a bill arrived.

"That's when I had my shock."

The first month after Duquesne Light installed this smart meter, the Mihalics' electric bill skyrocketed from $42 a month to over $2,500.

That's right. The bill was -- well, to be precise", says Mihalic, "$2,545.13."

Mihalic called Duquesne Light immediately and ultimately got most, but not all, of that charge rescinded.

"I made numerous phone calls. I logged probably close to 20 hours on the telephone, trying to get some satisfaction."

So is something wrong with these smart meters?

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Mihalic says the inspector the company sent to her property admitted as much.

"He said they're having problems with smart meters. He said this is not a-typical. This is something that's occurring."

It apparently happened to Cindy Landman of Beaver Falls whose bill jumped to $916 after her new meter was installed.

"It was supposed to be a smart meter, but apparently it's a dumb meter from Duquesne Light," says Landman.

Christine Fox in Ambridge says her budget plan bill took a dramatic climb with her smart meter -- from $97 a month to $243 a month.

"I think there are many people out there that are having problems with it," adds Fox.

Duquesne Light would not provide anyone on camera but insists the smart meters are 'not' the problem.

Blaming what they call human error, the company says it's working to correct billing problems.

Customers are not so sure.

"I think the problem occurred between the installation of the old and the new," suggests Mihalic.

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