Watch Your Electric Bill Like A Hawk!

Especially when moving during COVID

Red-tailed Hawk.jpg

Welcome to Saving Money with Andrew!

Last week, I talked about some major electric bill sticker shock that caused us to change out our inefficient light bulbs.

This week, I return to one of my favorite topics: companies acting sketchy during the COVID pandemic.[1]

This time, it was the electric company for our old apartment. We haven’t lived there since June, and completely moved out a few weeks ago, but left our account open in case we decided to return. I figured our last bill would be very low because we weren’t using any electricity, but to my surprise, we received a high ($220) electric bill for an apartment that was completely empty for over a month!

So, I called the company to ask what was going on. What I found out was pretty shocking:

  • Since COVID, they’ve been unable to check electric meters in most buildings

  • So, they’ve just charged people for the same amount of electricity they used in the same month last year, no matter how much was actually used this year

  • At some point in the (probably far) future, they might check the meters and make things right with customers

  • But, if you move or close your account now, you never get any refund!

I politely explained to the rep that this seemed awfully unfair, and that many other people were in the same boat of being charged for electricity they didn’t use. Her response was pretty lame: “How do we know you didn’t actually use more electricity than normal?”

So, I used yet another trick when dealing with customer service. I politely asked to speak to her manager. She asked if I was sure that I wanted to do that, and then put me on hold. Fifteen minutes later, she came back and said she could retroactively close our account back to when we were no longer living in the apartment (over a month ago), and that the $220 bill would be cancelled. Three days later, I received a revised final bill, reflecting a full credit.

This story had a happy ending. But if you’ve recently moved, or if you’ve received an electric bill that seems a bit wrong, you may want to call and investigate.

And now…Andrew’s pick of the week:

I am a huge, huge fan of Live from Lincoln Center, the PBS series of live performances (mostly of classical music and musical theater) from New York’s Lincoln Center that is now in its 43rd season. Sadly, few episodes are available online, and many of those are only available on subscription services like BroadwayHD (though you can get a free 7-day trial of it on Amazon). But, a handful of great performances are available on YouTube.

Three of my favorites:

  • Sutton Foster (Broadway superstar, though probably best-known for her role on the highly-underrated Younger) and Jonathan Groff performing “Fit as a Fiddle” from Singin’ in the Rain

  • Andrew Rannells performing “And They’re Off” from the amazing (and also hugely underrated) musical A New Brain

  • Grace McLean performing “Somebody to Love” (technically this is from the Lincoln Center American Songbook series, but this is just so good I had to include it)


I hope this has been helpful. If you liked it, please share it with a friend! Also, please send me your feedback, requests, and success stories.

[1] See prior posts on members of the Hall of Shame, including the airlines, StubHub and the travel insurers.