Switched gas bills not easily reversed

Full story: Chicago Tribune

The charges on Jane Regas' gas bill were so out of whack, she knew something was wrong.
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1 - 20 of 44 Comments Last updated Oct 27, 2008
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JTO

United States

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#1
Sep 17, 2008
 
Is this the maturity level we expect from corporations? You officially dispute a bill and they send you to collections? Next time one of my utilities makes a goof on my bill (and recently it happens with disturbing regularity), maybe I should file a lien against them.

If the utilities can't be trusted to be honest with their customers' accounts and resort to juvenile tactics to harm customers' credit ratings, we need legislation to prevent any company from sending disputed accounts to collections. Because a utility bill was sent to collections, Regan can expect her credit card rates to go up and that is something that Nicor should be liable for.
yeahright

United States

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#2
Sep 17, 2008
 
I had a similar situation with Nicor last year. In the heat of last August I was billed $200.00 for gas usage (1200 sq. ft. condo) and was told by Nicor that the charges were so high because of the pilot light on my hot water heater. After reading the meter myself and calling in the numbers, whoops, only $21.00. Was told "no harm, no foul", just pay the $200.00 and be credited the difference the following month. YEAHRIGHT!
Amanda

Hightstown, NJ

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#3
Sep 17, 2008
 
This happens more often than people think; most people probably just donít notice it. It happened to me with Peopleís Gas. After I called them and told them my bill was off, the operator told me that they had billed me for the wrong apartment. She said she would close the account. That didnít happen, and the account was sent to a collection agency. Funny that big corporations can take all the time in the world to fix their mistakes, but if you miss even one payment (even on an account that isnít yoursÖ) youíre hit with big fees and your account goes to a collector.
Whattayaknow

Addison, IL

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#4
Sep 17, 2008
 
Can't the Citizens Utility Board get involved with this? If not for the Whats Your Problem involvement - this could have gone on forever. Shame on you Nicor - youre pathetic. They also need to explain how this customer's bills were sent to collections, when, they were fully aware of the problems this customer had been calling them about. The Nicor spokesman even admitted to that fact. Thats a lot of BS.
DnA

Schaumburg, IL

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#5
Sep 17, 2008
 
We are having a similar problem with NICOR. We told them we couldn't read the last number on our meter because the meter was broken and they said that was fine, we could still do a reading. Our bill tripled! They have missed 4 appointments since May, we have been treated terribly by a supervisor and now our bill will be reported on our credit if we don't pay. They are the worst!
Fred

Chicago, IL

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#6
Sep 17, 2008
 
Nicor bill on "predicted usage" not actual usage. There is a place on their website where you can enter your meter reading yourself. This makes the bill a lot closer to your actual usage.

When we first figured this out, we had overpaid by $600 over a one year period. Trying to get Nicor to come out a do a meter reading was impossible. We had readings scheduled 3 different times where no one showed up. Feeling frustrated, we called the Illinois Commerce Comission. Immediately they had Nicor on a 3-way call. Nicor showed up the following Saturday (even though they claim that they don't make Saturday appts) and everything was fixed.
Fred

Chicago, IL

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#7
Sep 17, 2008
 
DnA wrote:
We are having a similar problem with NICOR. We told them we couldn't read the last number on our meter because the meter was broken and they said that was fine, we could still do a reading. Our bill tripled! They have missed 4 appointments since May, we have been treated terribly by a supervisor and now our bill will be reported on our credit if we don't pay. They are the worst!
See my post above and try calling the Illinois Commerce Commission 1-800-524-0795. Once you get this straightened out, try manually entering your reading online each month to avoid future billing issues.
Kingpin

Springfield, IL

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#8
Sep 17, 2008
 
Imagine that a Utility Company ripping off a Consumer. Lisa Madigan will ride to the rescue, for NICOR that is. Best Pol Money can buy, chip off the old block.
Chris

Sterling, IL

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#9
Sep 17, 2008
 
Nicor is still billing a dead man. My grandfather died in 1971, and my father and grandmother just left things as is. Now that we're trying to get things squared to sell the 3 flat in the city, I called Nicor (with Power of Attorney for my Dad)to remove my grandfather and place the billings in my Dad's name. After several calls, they still are sending bills to a dead man c/o an 85 year old with ALZ. Go figure.

MTH

Since: Aug 08

Chicago, IL

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#10
Sep 17, 2008
 
Just another example of corporate greed and corporate arrogance. They know they have full control of what they do and have no one to answer to unless a customer gets other agencies involved. You miss a payment and it haunts you, they miss a payment or credit and it haunts you. They have nothing to worry about, no one is ever going to have a problem with this except the customer. It helps when the government is in your pocket (or at least your lobbyists pocket).

MTH

Since: Aug 08

Chicago, IL

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#11
Sep 17, 2008
 
Now that I think about it, everyone always says you have to keep trying with these companies and after awhile get in touch with someone if that does not work. Why? As a customer we shoudl follow the same practices of the company we are dealing with. If their policy is to send something out for collection right away or while you are trying to resolve it then we should do the same. Try one time to resolve the issue. If unsuccessful, start calling everyone. Maybe if enough people did that, someone would start to take a closer look at these companies and how they operate.

Since: Jun 08

Warrenville, IL

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#13
Sep 17, 2008
 
Nicor's accounting is really sloppy. In January they replaced our meter, after which we received no bill for several months. I went online to see that our balance was zero, which I knew was wrong. It took a couple of tries of us contacting them, telling them we owe them money, that they finally sent a bill. If we had waited who knows when they would have figured it out, and we might have owed them several thousand dollars by then.
Ryan

Evanston, IL

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#14
Sep 17, 2008
 
Had the same problem but with ComEd when I suspected we were being billed on the wrong meter after moving into a new condo. Their own technician came out and verified what I found but it took four months and many many phone calls to customer service to resolve the problem and issue a $200+ credit. What really made them scramble to fix the biling was my threat to consult with my attorney as well as to contact the Citizens' Utility Board. It's time -consuming and frustrating but you gotta keep fighting them. Also, keep records of all phone calls and take down names. It was so telling that the ComEd technician, before leaving, warned me to stay on their case. He knew that I was in for an uphill battle!
Jim

Westmont, IL

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#15
Sep 17, 2008
 
N = nobody
I = in
C = charge
O = or
R= responsible

Has always been my take on Nicor.
Nancy B

United States

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#16
Sep 17, 2008
 
NICOR plays dirty pool.
Michael

Elk Grove Village, IL

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#17
Sep 17, 2008
 
I am currently in a situation where I'm paying off a bill sent to me retroactively last year when Peoples Energy finally realized that the meter for the loft space I am renting was crossed with that of the unit above me. I had been aware of the problem for quite some time and had made numerous attempts to contact them to correct the problem, but there is only so much time one can spend on the phone at work dealing with a utility company. Even the technicians that were sent on multiple occasions to restore my service when it had been shut off promised to get add the correct meter number to my account. Each time it never happened. The bill came to nearly $4,000 (including considerable penalties) and was turned over to collections in short order when Peoples realized there was no way I could afford the size of the monthly installment payments they demanded. I've been paying it off little by little, but this article has me wondering whether or not I am rightfully being held liable for the entire amount.
joe

Chicago, IL

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#18
Sep 17, 2008
 
the bigger the company the poor owner of the said property is always the one that gets it in the end for the goverment does not care for they have the goverment in there pocket...they thing there god sometimes.............
Nancy B

United States

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#19
Sep 17, 2008
 
All these people having the same problems with NICOR,
sounds like a scam to me.Bust it wide open go to the media and the News papers about it as well. What's the name of the column in the Sun Times where people write in with unresolved problems, oh yeah The Fixer.
LBA

South Elgin, IL

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#20
Sep 17, 2008
 
Nicor should pay a penalty for poor service, and compensate this person for time wasted because of Nicors deficient customer service. They should also pay a penalty for defamation, for referring this customer to collections? When in fact it was Nicors own ineptitude that caused the problem.
justthink

Chicago, IL

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#21
Sep 17, 2008
 
The Illinois Commerce Commission was awesome in straightening out numerous NICOR issues we have experienced throughout the years. 1-800-524-0795 The hassle with NICOR representatives was nipped in the bud each time the ICC stepped in.

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