Why doesn't ComEd know where I live?
January 19, 2008 2:28 PM   Subscribe

I need help sorting out an issue involving my electric company, my electric bill, and the other apartments in our building.

We have lived in a four unit building in Chicago for nearly three years now. We are on the thrid floor and were told when moving in that this was 'unit/apartment 3'. When we called to begin utility services (gas, electric, cable), we signed up as #3.

We recently had someone move in on the fourth floor. I got a letter from our electric company, ComEd, asking where I was moving because they had received notice that the name on my account needed to be changed. The letter was addressed to me at 'unit 3, 4th floor'. I called to see what was going on and was told that they show four units at our address - basement, unit 1, unit 2, and unit 3. According to ComEd, we live in unit 2 on the 3rd floor. My name is apparently associated with what they call unit 3 - the 4th floor.

I have reviewed my past bills and they have always been addressed to me at unit 3 and have never said 4th floor, until I got the letter. Despite this, ComEd says that I've been paying the bill for the 4th floor for almost three years.

Part of me doesn't believe this. If that was true, who has been paying our bill the entire time we've lived here? But if we have been paying the wong bill, that means I have no idea what our electric consumption is or what our actual bill could possibly be.

How do I fix this? Will ComEd make me retroactively pay for our actual alectric consumption? What if I've been paying more for the 4th's floor usage than I would have if we had been paying our actual bill? Could I get compensated? Do I just call to put my name on what they call unit 2 and walk away?
posted by youngergirl44 to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
I lived in a split house, I was 1625A and there was a 1625B. Even though I was A, I was still unit #2 according to the electricity company. The thing that doesn't make sense to me is that if you began an account on the wrong unit, then why weren't the people in that unit notified of a "name change" and "where are you moving to" just like you were? And let's say that there was no one living in that unit at the time, then your utility bills would have been suspiciously low. I don't think ComEd would make you retroactively pay for you consumption because someone's has been paying for it or you wouldn't have utilities. I think the best thing to do is just give them a call and work it all out. I'm sure it will be fine.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:18 PM on January 19, 2008

You *may* be in a situation where the landlord messed something up. What does it say on the mailboxes? And the electric meters? They are usually labeled by unit number. These things, along with the meter number on your bill will help you and ComEd figure it out. Try your post office too- they are in charge of how addresses work. If something seems squirrelly, call 311 and let the city help you deal with it. Chicago has strong and complicated landlord laws.
posted by gjc at 3:32 PM on January 19, 2008

First step is to figure out for sure which electric meter belongs to your apartment. Don't necessarily trust the apartment unit numbers. There should be a meter serial number somewhere on your bill, 8 or 10 digits or so -- not your account number. Then look for the same serial number on your meter, usually on the face inside the glass. This tells you which meter you are being billed for.

Next you want to determine if that meter is the one that is actually connected to your apartment. Turn off everything electrical in your apartment. Turn off the circuit breakers if that is easier. Then check the meter. The spinning disk should be stopped or barely creeping. Then turn a bunch of electrical equipment on, like an electric stove, microwave, toaster. You should instantly see the disk spin up to a fast speed. It helps if you have two people and can holler at each other. If this checks out, then you are being billed for the correct meter. If not, then you have a problem you need to sort out with the electric company.
posted by JackFlash at 5:03 PM on January 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

If I look up my zip code with USPS, they say there are units one through four in the building. The mailboxes don't say anything on them other than what the tennants have posted - just names.
posted by youngergirl44 at 6:03 PM on January 19, 2008

Jackflash has it. You want to find the meter number on your bill, then find out which meter is yours. Many states allow you to make the utility do a meter test for free every several years. When they do this, they can determine which meter is which.
posted by Pants! at 6:30 PM on January 19, 2008

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