Many Greenfield residents find error in electric bill

Greenfield Community Light & Power participants were affected

GREENFIELD – The Greenfield Mayor is informing residents and business owners who participate in the Greenfield Community Light & Power Program to expect a higher electric bill from January.

According to a news release from the Greenfield Mayor’s office, people in the program were billed the highest billing rate for the December and January portions of the electricity service period.

“We believe WMECo overcharged customers and as soon as we were made aware of the problem asked the Department of Public Utilities to investigate the matter, and they are in that process”, said Mayor William Martin. “We are working very closely with the appropriate parties to resolve the manner in a swift and fair manner.”

“What we know so far is that WMECo has admitted that there was a billing error which resulted in overcharging customers on their January bills and they are working to fix it. We will know how they intend to fix it later in the week and will release an announcement to keep the community up to date,” the Mayor continued.

Detailed program information, including answers to frequently asked questions is available through the Town’s website.

Below is the entire news release from the Mayor’s office regarding the electric bill error:

Residents and business owners who are participating in the Greenfield Community Light & Power Program are in for a surprise when they open their January electricity bills, which started arriving last week. “We believe WMECo overcharged customers and as soon as we were made aware of the problem asked the Department of Public Utilities to investigate the matter, and they are in that process”, said Mayor William Martin. “We are working very closely with the appropriate parties to resolve the manner in a swift and fair manner.”

“What we know so far is that WMECo has admitted that there was a billing error which resulted in overcharging customers on their January bills and they are working to fix it. We will know how they intend to fix it later in the week and will release an announcement to keep the community up to date,” the Mayor continued.

In an email response to the Mayor, Edgar Alejandro, Manager of Economic & Community Development at WMECo wrote, “I’m told that affected customers will be getting a credit on their bills in response to this situation…Also, you should know that customer service reps have been advised of the billing problem and given instructions on how to appropriately respond to customer inquiries. I apologize for any inconvenience to you and the residents of Greenfield.”

From the phone calls that have been coming in to the Mayor’s Office, it looks like those joining the Greenfield Community Power and Light Program were billed at the variable rate, which also happens to be the highest billing rate for each the December and January portions of the electricity service period. The variable rate for December was 12.2470 cents per kWh (versus the 8.8440 cent fixed rate) and 21.463 cents per kWh from January 1st, leading to as much as a doubling of electricity bills across the Town. As of Monday, residents that have called in are reporting that they received two bills: the first dated January 13th and another dated a day 2 The Town of Greenfield is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer, a designated Green Community and a recipient of the “Leading by Example” Award later that cancels out the first bill and is billed at a higher rate. The Town is awaiting word back from WMECo on the details of this double billing.

Carole Collins, the Town’s Energy and Sustainability Director remarked that residents have been remarkably understanding about the error and noted that this billing matter was not under the control of the Town. “WMECo has agreed to issue the appropriate talking points to their call center, but has heard from several residents who have been told by WMECo that the rate increase is due to their joining the Greenfield Light & Power program, which is not correct.” She also said that, “most of the people I’ve spoken with are retired and on a fixed income, so despite the planned increase that people were expecting to pay, this represents a hardship to many.”

As of the January meter read dates, residential and commercial electricity customers in Greenfield who were receiving their electricity supply from WMECo customers, or who opted to join in the Greenfield Community Light & Power Program, have started to receive 100% green electricity from ConEdison Solutions at a rate lower than WMECo’s current rates. Savings will appear on their bills after the first meter read date following program launch, and prices will not change for the duration of the one-year contract Greenfield has with ConEdison Solutions. Greenfield’s goal is for the program price, on average, to best WMECo’s Basic Service price. Participants may opt out at any time with no penalty.

Comments are closed.