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Large DEMCO bill received at uninhabited house, property owner shocked

2 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, April 06 2021 Apr 6, 2021 April 06, 2021 6:50 PM April 06, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BAKER - A man has sticker shock after receiving a large electric bill in the mail. The homeowner is puzzled since he hasn't lived in the house since the 2016 flood.

It's a mystery that Albert Rutherford can't seem to solve.

"I don't have a hot water heater, so the dishwasher's not working," he said. "Why would I turn the heat on even if it was 19 degrees outside in a house where I'm not living?"

Rutherford got a DEMCO electric bill in the mail for $453 in February. The house has been under construction since the flood, and Rutherford says the only appliance hooked up and working right now is his fridge. He says his thermostat has been in the off position and he hasn't used the A/C or heat in years.

He contacted 2 On Your Side in March about the bill, and this week a DEMCO energy audit team visited Rutherford's house to go over his electric usage. DEMCO said Tuesday that the energy was used.

"The results of the audit do show consistency," David Latona said. "Number one, the meter was perfect, running just like it should. I can't say what exactly he was using but it was consistent year after year, same time of year in those cold winter months."

Rutherford doesn't agree.

"Not to my way of thinking," he said. "In a house that's uninhabited, there's no appliances, there's nothing sucking the electricity out. Why the electric bill was so high I don't know."

He's concerned now that there's no way of checking the work since his meter was changed out for a smart one a couple of weeks ago. Rutherford tells 2 On Your Side the meter switch happened after he had made several calls to DEMCO complaining about the February bill. Now that he's met with DEMCO, he says there's more work to be done.

"I'm not going to give up. It's ridiculous," Rutherford said.

Ridiculous to him, since he's still on the hook for paying that high February bill.

DEMCO says it provided a detailed map of Rutherford's usage and tips to help save energy.

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