Some KUB customers question their bill amounts

Some KUB customers question their bills, find meter readers made some errors

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"It makes you feel cheated," said Joann McClain. "It makes me feel like, can I go someplace else?" "It makes you feel cheated," said Joann McClain. "It makes me feel like, can I go someplace else?"
Joann McClain says KUB is scheduled to cut off her power Tuesday morning if she doesn't pay her bill. Joann McClain says KUB is scheduled to cut off her power Tuesday morning if she doesn't pay her bill.
Karen Horst says she's having the same problem. She says her meter was misread and her bill rose to almost $1,400. Karen Horst says she's having the same problem. She says her meter was misread and her bill rose to almost $1,400.
KUB says in many cases, the meter readings were estimated too low, meaning customers have to pay for all the months the meter were not read accurately. KUB says in many cases, the meter readings were estimated too low, meaning customers have to pay for all the months the meter were not read accurately.
"We don't want anyone to be without power. We are making payment arrangements with customers. There is assistance out there through Project Help," said Leslye Hartsell with KUB. "We don't want anyone to be without power. We are making payment arrangements with customers. There is assistance out there through Project Help," said Leslye Hartsell with KUB.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A couple of Knoxville Utilities Board customers contacted 6 News asking us to get to the bottom of why their utility bills have been so much higher, sometimes more than double the average amount. KUB says an issue with former meter readers has caused some incorrect bill amounts.

One woman who contacted 6 News says KUB is scheduled to cut off her power Tuesday morning if she doesn't pay her bill. The woman says KUB made the mistake, but now she's the one forced to pay for the meter readers' errors, something she believes isn't fair.

Joann McClain has lived in her East Knoxville home for 27 years. She says when she saw her December bill, she was shocked by the charges.

"Never. I have never, ever used this much KUB. Never," said McClain.

McClain says when she called KUB, she was eventually told the meters were misread during several prior months. So when the meter reader read the bill for December, all the previous incorrect totals were added together and applied to the latest bill.

"It makes you feel cheated," said McClain. "It makes me feel like, can I go someplace else?"

Karen Horst says she's having the same problem. She says her meter was misread and her bill rose to almost $1,400.

"I looked at the graph and the bar was already up to the top as opposed to the bottom, consistent with the other months," said Horst.

She says she doesn't have enough time or money to pay the KUB bill.

"They said it was scheduled to be turned off at 7 a.m. if they didn't have their payment," said Horst.

6 News spoke with KUB Communications Manager Leslye Hartsell. She said she can't comment on specific customer accounts, but says KUB was made aware of meter reading issues in August.

"We brought it to the contractor's attention. Those issues were addressed and dealt with back at that time," said Hartsell.

Hartsell says the meter reading contractor fired several employees for falsifying data. KUB has been using a different contractor since September.

"We only know of a few isolated cases, but there could be some trickle down," said Hartsell.

Hartsell says in many cases, the meter readings were estimated too low, meaning customers have to pay for all the months the meter were not read accurately.

"We don't want anyone to be without power. We are making payment arrangements with customers. There is assistance out there through Project Help," said Hartsell.

McClain says KUB has delayed her payment deadline to January 23, but she says finding the money will still be impossible.

"They are like 'We are doing a big favor. We are going to put it off for a week.' That's still not enough. Are you going to get me a second job?" said McClain.

Hartsell says some customers were over charged. Their accounts will be credited.

If you have a question about your account or believe there may have been problems contact KUB at *865) 524-2911.

KUB also wants to remind customers their bills may be higher, possibly up to 50 percent, because of all the cold days this winter.

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