New rules govern utility bills - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New rules govern utility bills

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It's not fun getting a surprisingly large utility bill because of a broken utility meter.

Washington state's Utilities and Transportation Commission just passed some new rules to help avoid that.

Those new rules say energy companies have to fix billing mistakes within 60 days. If they did undercharge you because of a misread or broken meter, they have to fix that within six months. Before they were able to go back six years, so some people could end up getting a bill for thousands of dollars later on if they were undercharged.

So how are you supposed to figure out if your meter is broken? Avista says they have some internal procedures in place, so if your bill is significantly higher or lower, they would investigate. If it turns out your meter does have an issue, they say they would take care of it immediately.

The WA UTC says you should also flag inconsistencies in your bill as a way to check if your meter is still accurate. For instance, if you’re only being charged $8 a month, that’s usually just the service charge, and not the cost of what you’re using.

If you think you have an issue, you should call your energy company. You’re also entitled to a free meter read every year. If you have any issues you can’t resolve with the company, then you call UTC’s consumer help line 888-333-WUTC.

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