Wondering Why Your FirstEnergy Bill Is Being Estimated? Here’s the Answer

One of the important reasons to follow WV PSC cases is that there is a lot of information that comes out in the discovery process where power companies are required to provide factual information.  This requirement that the companies deal only in facts is in stark contrast to their press releases and media campaigns.

So last Friday, the PSC put up FirstEnergy’s responses to questions posed by the WV Consumer Advocate in the Mon Power/Potomac Edison billing investigation.  The CAD made a simple data request: “Please provide the number of Mon Power and Potomac Edison employees, by job title, as of December 31, 201 0, 201 1, 2012, and for the most recent month available.”  Here is a link to FirstEnergy’s response.

If you extract the numbers of meter readers on staff at Mon Power and Potomac Edison from 2010 to June 2013, there is a clear answer to why FirstEnergy’s WV companies have been illegally estimating bills at very high rates for the past year.  The companies have cut the number of meter readers they employ.  Here’s the tale:

Mon Power

  • 2010 – 60 total meter readers
  • 2011 – 58 total meter readers
  • 2012 – 47 total meter readers
  • June 2013 – 52 total meter readers

Potomac Editon

  • 2010 – 17 total meter readers
  • 2011 – 19 total meter readers
  • 2012 – 15 total meter readers
  • June 2013 – 15 total meter readers

So the merger of Allegheny Energy and FirstEnergy in 2011 has resulted in the elimination of 8 Mon Power meter readers and of 2 Potomac Edison meter readers.  That’s a drop of 13% for Mon Power and a drop of 12% for Potomac Edison.

The other merger development has been the requirement that meter readers use their own vehicles on the job, with cheesy magnetic company stickers, and FirstEnergy no longer provides them with uniforms or visible identification as power company employees.  The fact that meter readers now appear in our communities as unidentified stalkers or burglars casing houses can’t be good for employee morale.

It’s pretty simple.  The numbers tell the story.  If you don’t have enough meter readers, you can’t meet the WV legal requirement that meters must be actually read at least every other month.  And this certainly wasn’t the improvement in service that FirstEnergy told the PSC would result from the Ohio company’s swallowing of Allegheny Energy.

4 thoughts on “Wondering Why Your FirstEnergy Bill Is Being Estimated? Here’s the Answer

  1. Thanks for the update Bill, its obvious that FE doesn’t believe in continuity or quality control and assurance. Its hard to believe that they are so insensitive to their customers and regulators.

  2. As the gadfly who made the complaint about the meter reader in Jefferson County on WED 7 August 2013 on Wheatland Road, thank you for giving the matter your attention.
    In the Potomac Edison System, the reduction of 19 meter readers (2011) to 15 (2013)is 4 meter readers, not 2.
    It appears that the report of that incident has become viral in the last 96 hours.
    I finally was able to reach Todd Meyers to report this episode.
    Nobody from PE or First Energy returned a phone call to me. I was able to reach Meyers again a day later at almost closing time. Mr. Meyers stated that::
    1) The individual showed an ID. (NONE DISPLAYED)
    2) The individual had on a safety vest. (NONE EVIDENT)
    3) The vehicle with the Virginia Vanity Plate displayed a PE magnetic sign. (It dis-
    played none.)
    4) The explanation offered by the individual was sufficient for the “likes o’ me.”
    (“Nuff Said.)
    Though he did not say it in so many words, Mr. Meyers insinuated that I am lying. I will gladly meet him and his representative anywhere on those points.
    With That, I asked for an email address that I might inform PE and First Energy that a person who conducts himself as their “representative” appears to have behaved is unwelcome on my property for any reason.
    I wrote the email address given by Meyers, and read it back to him. Meyers stated the email address was correct as read. I was to discover that the email address given and read back verbatim was not the correct address to reach Todd Meyers.
    Some diligence was required to finally get the accurate email address to reach Todd Meyers.
    I am certain that Meyers has received the email by now, and the “supervisor” of the meter readers in Williamsport, Maryland has received it. There has been no reply from that office to me, as of this writing.
    Danny Lutz p.lutz007@gmail.com

    • Danny,

      In order to make a consistent comparison, I was comparing 2010 figures to 2013 figures for both Mon Power and Potomac Edison. Both companies showed one year jumps in the number of meter readers, but I was trying to show the trend over four years for both. PE’s figure for 2010 was 17, although it jumped by 2 to 19 in 2011. My comparison is between 2010 and 2013, which was a decline of 2. You are right that the decline would be 4 from 2011, but that was not the time period I was analyzing.

  3. I too have received many consecutive estimated bills from FE, beginning last winter. And what are the odds that last month’s estimate turned out to be right on the button, to the penny, exactly the amount of power used when the meter was finally read. Not one cent of the paid estimate had to be applied to the next bill. If only I could apply these methods to pick lottery numbers when the jackpot hits $300mil. However, I would first have to believe in their ability to foretell those numbers. I don’t buy it one bit.

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