New York – LIPA customers who spent weeks without power got zapped with their normal electric bills – as if the outages never happened.
The clueless utility charged Sandy-soaked Long Island residents an estimated rate that covered the entire billing cycle, and the statements made no mention of potential refunds to account for the prolonged blackouts.
Jonathan Saporta was slapped with a double whammy by the Long Island Power Authority – a $649 bill for the Long Beach home he left in October and a $281 bill for his new Great Neck pad.
He also is expecting a $1,700 bill for his storm-ravaged restaurant, Jake’s Wayback Burger, which is in hard-hit Long Beach and remains without power.
“I can’t get LIPA to acknowledge my existence on earth to talk to me about anything,” he ranted. “But I guess they had power, so they could print my bills. Nice, right?”
Saporta, 33, moved to the Great Neck home on Oct. 1 and got the bill in the mail on Wednesday for a cycle covering 43 days – including the two weeks he spent in the dark following the Oct. 29 storm.
Even though he switched his account to the new address on Sept. 26, he still received an e-mail bill for the Long Beach house on Nov. 10 – and somehow it was $390 more than the previous month.
“I am not paying any of my bills, that much I promise,” said Saporta. “They can put me into collections, and I’ll fight them tooth-and-nail.
“It’s simply criminal.”
Michael Hilferty, 29, an attorney from Long Beach, was e-mailed his bill – which was about a dollar more than the previous month – as he chowed down on some turkey.
“To get this message on Thanksgiving was crass and classless. It’s just heartless,” he said.
His oceanfront building was flooded with 7 feet of water and inundated with 4 feet of sand, covering the LIPA meters.
Hilferty left the apartment, which remains dark and boarded up, and has been staying in Connecticut.
Yet he was hit for 29 days of electric usage, including delivery and system charges.
David Wasserman, 40, of Merrick, tried to report online the difference between his actual and estimated electric usage.
“I got some message that said, ‘Service records show your usage would be higher. Please call an operator for further assistance,’ ” he said. “No one ever picked up.”
LIPA did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
Con Ed, on the other hand, wants to refund its Manhattan customers who lost power $3 and customers from other boroughs who lost power $6, the utility proposed this week in a filing with the Public Service Commission. Those figures represent a portion of customers’ fixed monthly bills, which exclude power usage.
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