October 2, 2006
I was listening to Curtis and Kuby
on WABC 770 this morning and they stated that an electric company was sending out bogus $500 or even $5,000 electric bills to customers in order to force their customers to call their billing department. The reason? With many homes no longer having a phone landline, due to VoIP, wireless phones, etc., the electric meters can no longer automatically dial in the electricity usage.
After the customer does call in to complain, the billing department then tells the customer the true charges. I just hope an 80 year old grandma doesn't open her electric bill to see a $5,000 charge and have a heart attack. Anyone smell a potential lawsuit here?
Here's a novel idea for the electric company - send a meter man to take the reading. Granted, it costs more money to do it the old-fashioned way, but the liability for lying to customers to get them to call could result in multi-million dollar lawsuits. Or better yet, do what my electric company recently did to my electric meter. They installed a wireless transmitter to it. I think its range is fairly limited though. When I asked the installer how it works, she said that they have to drive a van through the neighborhood and then the van automatically picks up the usage data. Hmmm. I wonder if that wireless data stream can be hacked? $20 electric bills sure would be nice!