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Family at odds with utility company over high bills, unanswered questions

1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, June 06 2024 Jun 6, 2024 June 06, 2024 7:02 PM June 06, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

PLAQUEMINE - A family in Iberville Parish says the city's utility company has some explaining to do. Pat Huesmann says his utility bills range from $200 to $1,200 with an outlier at almost $11,000.

Huesmann says there's no rhyme or reason why they fluctuate so much and wants answers.

"It's been frustrating," said Huesmann.

Three years ago, the Huesmann family moved into their Plaquemine home on Canal Street after undergoing a major renovation. Soon after the family moved in they noticed their utility bill continued to go up.

The house is about 3,100 square feet with two A/C units and a small pool. Huesmann says the lights and air conditioning units are on timers and they live under a huge tree canopy, which allows them to keep their thermostat between 73 and 75 degrees during the warm months. Huesmann says the bills don't reflect their usage.

"There has been no consistency in our monthly bill," he said.
Huesmann says they got the utility company involved a long time ago. Someone there told them their bills were estimated since the meter couldn't be read. Huesmann was told that the meter reader was unable to enter their yard while their dog, a 6.5 lb. Yorkie was outside.
"That's what we were told," he said.

After another high electricity bill three months ago, Huesmann started making a fuss. He contacted the utility director and the mayor. Last month, someone from the utility company came to swap out the meter at the house.

"They emailed us and said the meter was bad," said Huesmann.
The new meter has been in use for about a month. Now Huesmann wants to know about the past three years of bills and whether or not he was overcharged.

"I don't know what they're doing, I wish we could get a reasonable answer," he said.

At the end of May, 2 On Your Side started contacting the utility company about Huesmann's situation. Emails and voicemails were not returned. On Thursday, after several calls to the utility company and the mayor's office, 2 On Your Side learned that several people have quit within the utility department.

A spokesperson for the city says the former director and assistant director of the utility customer service office quit. While Mayor Ed Reeves, Jr. had asked the previous director to look into Huesmann's situation that person left before the investigation findings were revealed.

The city is advertising for a new Customer Service Office Director. Once that person is hired, they will look into Huesmann's billing history. The city says the bill history and issues with this residence are a priority.


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