Residents shocked by bill increases
Residents of the Utopia Street area in Baldwin are outraged at what they say is a sudden increase in their electrical bills.
First to call attention to the problem was resident Robert DeMahy, who said his bills averaged $110-120 for several months then jumped to nearly $500 when he received his latest bill in July.
After talking to residents of his neighborhood, he said about nine others have had similar increases. DeMahy said most were on Utopia Street, but there were others nearby.
He reports that he contacted Cleco, and was told that the meter reader had not been reading the meters correctly.
“I felt like I was talking to a brick wall that didn’t want to explain or take responsibility for their mistake,” DeMahy said.
Cleco released a statement to Lafayette media Monday stating, “We apologize for any inconvenience the misread meters have caused our customers. Cleco takes pride in delivering quality service. Cleco has reread all affected customer meters so that bills accurately reflect electricity used.”
However the company said customers are still responsible for the bill balance, and are willing to work with them on repayment.
Mayor Wayne Breaux said this morning he contacted Cleco, and they told him personnel were sent out to verify that current readings are correct "to the point that this amount of electricity was used" as reflect on customers' bills.
The error was reported to the state Public Service Commission, which author-ized Cleco to collect the unpaid balances due to the misread meters.
Breaux also noted that local Cleco offices will help make payment arrangements with customers.