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TROUBLESHOOTERS: Answers for renter whose power bill soared

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Power bills tend to go up during winter, but one Wilmington man cannot understand why his bill has tripled when he has essentially turned off his power.

Louis Williams has lived in an apartment at a Wilmington home since May. Until recently, his electric bill has been low, but in January, it was more than $200. In February, it skyrocketed to more than $300, and that’s after he took steps to cut costs.

“Each time it goes up I try to cut back on electrical use, but it’s like the more I decrease my electrical use, the higher my bill goes,” Williams said.

Williams called Progress Energy to find out if there’s a problem with his meter, but there’s a roadblock. The bill is not in his name. His landlord receives the bill for his unit and shows Williams what he owes. He tried to get the account information, but he says she would not give it to him.

“It’s hard for me to take ownership of the problem and try to deal with it myself when I’m not getting any kind of help from her,” Williams said.

We called his landlord, Johnny Mae Pridgen, to try and get answers. Turns out, the power bill is in her grandfather’s name, but he died 26 years ago.

We then contacted Progress Energy. The company is investigating, because an account cannot be in the name of someone who died. Because of that, Pridgen is going to put the account in her name, because Williams is moving in May. But she will give Williams the account information so he can go to Progress Energy’s website and use its free online Home Energy Audit, which will give him a breakdown of his home energy usage to help determine whether something is wrong.

If you think your power bill is higher than it should be, you can check out Progress Energy’s online tool as well.

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