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Bill Mixup Leaves Woman Paying Neighbor’s Electrical Bills For More Than A Year

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Ian Schwartz Ian Schwartz
Ian Schwartz comes to the great state of California from Albuquerque,...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento woman said she did everything she could to cut back on her energy use and save money, but her bill was still going up.

More than a year later, she says the Sacramento Municipal Utility District revealed she was actually paying her neighbor’s bill instead as the result of a mixup.

Keeping cool in the summer is a must, and Emily Frei tries to do it without breaking the bank.

“I don’t run my AC,” she said. “I’m not here during the day so there is no reason for me to run it all day.”

She uses fans, windows and the help of the Delta breeze to keep cool after work.

I was hoping it was going to be a money saver,” she said.

After a couple of months of watching her bill climb as her energy use went down, she got suspicious.

“The true telling moment was when I was gone for two weeks on vacation,” she said.

The only thing on during that two-week vacation was her refrigerator. But when she got the bill, she saw plenty of activity and a charge of nearly $60.

She called SMUD and a representative had her turn off her breaker box. That’s when her neighbor came out and said her power just went off.

It turns out the bills and power were switched: She was paying for her neighbor’s higher use for nearly a year and a half.

“It’s definitely frustrating trying to keep costs down and your costs are not going down, they are actually going up,” she said.

A SMUD spokesperson said a technician went out to the house Thursday morning and found out the electrical panel was wired incorrectly.

Christopher Capra with SMUD said in an email the panel wiring is the responsibility of the landlord and the resident who was paying the wrong bill will not be reimbursed by SMUD.

“When you get your bill, take a look at the cost and your energy usage and see if anything is out of whack,” Frei said.

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