For the second month, New Jersey residents are complaining of shockingly high utility bills after months of estimated meter readings, according to dozens of NJ.com readers and complaints to the Board of Public Utilities.
Between Aug. 24 and Sept 24, the Board of Public Utilities received more than 229 complaints regarding high utility bills for PSE&G, 36 for JCP&L, 26 for ACE and nine for Rockland, spokesman Peter Peretzman said in a statement to NJ Advance Media.
“My bill, it’s over $500,” said Kevin Davitt of Glen Rock. “We have a window unit so it eats up the electricity in the summer, but this was just unusually high.”
And Hoboken resident Kailey Elfstrum said her bill jumped from $106 to $523. While she expected her bill to go up when she moved from her one-bedroom apartment across the street to her two-bedroom apartment, she was dismayed at the hundreds more she suddenly owed.
Along with dozens of other confused customers, they reached out to PSE&G customer services, which has seen an increase in customers calling about skyrocketing bills due to estimated meter readings.
The utility giant explained that one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders enacted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic barred utility workers from entering people’s homes. That meant the company had to estimate meter readings beginning in March and through the summer, said Fred Daum, Executive Director of Customer Operations.
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Electricity usage history and average monthly temperature are two big factors that come into play with estimating usage, he said in an interview.
For example, if a customer’s August bill was estimated, the company looks at average temperature this year — 77 degrees — compared to last year’s 76 degrees. The customer’s usage should be very