General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

If your power is out for a month or two (hurricane, for example), do you still get a bill from the power company?

Asked by elbanditoroso (24918points) November 6th, 2017

On what basis?

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5 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve had cable and power company outages, they issued a credit for days that I didn’t get cable and phone. The electric company charges for power used, no power to house ===> QED no bill for those days.

The cable company was real generous with duration of outage, 20 hours and received 2 days of credit.

Battousai87's avatar

Yes and no. In a perfect world no, you wouldn’t be charged for power not used. This is assuming they actually get a reading from you meter. Most power companies don’t get to all of the houses in time for their billing cycle, so they charge you based on your past power usage for that month. If you see your bill it should show you how much power you have used (or they think you used). You can check your own meter and make sure the numbers match, if they don’t call them and make them come out and check it before you pay the bill. However if you do pay it but didn’t use that amount of power in theory when they do eventually make it out to your meter it should be corrected on the next bill (ie the next bill would be cheaper to make up the difference). Example say they think you used 100mwhr in one month, but you only used 75, the next month if you actually used 100mwhrs they would only charge you for 75 of those making up the difference (175 for 2 months instead of 200 for 2 months). I know that’s an over simplification, but that was on purpose to demonstrate the point lol.

CalHoncho's avatar

Yes, you are still billed essentially a “cost of service” minimum. Just as the energy you use has a cost so does the service to bring that energy to you or restore it in the case of a sustained outage.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@CalHoncho – but if the power infrastructure is down (Puerto Rico) why would you be on the hook?

CalHoncho's avatar

@elbanditoroso Understandable in that situation why someone would question having to pay a bill, but it still falls under cost of service. That cost of service is average and spread across all the consumers for a utility based on normal outages/maintenance circumstances, but in most cases it doesn’t take into account any extreme events such as Puerto Rico. If it did the COS would be much higher. Almost all US utilities are subsidized by FEMA “after” the lights are back on and this process of reimbursement is not easy. They want everything accounted for in regards to the disaster, sometimes this could take years for the utility to financially rebound because of a major disaster.

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