Oak Park residents get electric bill for nearly $108,000
By BILL DWYER Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org February 21, 2012 6:08PM
Kathy and David Rajter's February electric bill came as a major shock at $107,625.16.
Updated: March 23, 2012 8:22AM
Kathy Rajter is one of the thousands of Oak Park residents who now get their energy supplied by a third party — Integrys Energy — under the village’s new electrical aggregation program.
When the first bill under the new program reached her mailbox last week, Rajter was keen to see her “savings.”
What she saw was a bill for $107,625.16.
“The taxes (and fees alone) on the bill were $16,000,” Kathy Rajter said.
She and her husband, David, had used 2,236 kilowatt hours the previous month, when their bill was $276. The new bill showed them consuming a whopping 1.6 million kilowatt hours, a total more in line with a large industrial customer.
Obviously, a mistake had been made — one that could have created huge problems for the Rajters this Friday, when her electric bill was to be automatically deducted from her checking account.
“I have automatic withdrawal, and I have overdraft protection,” she said. “Imagine if I’d just set the bill aside — it would have wiped out my entire checking and savings.”
While Integrys supplies the Rajters’ electricity, ComEd still handles the billing. Neither company was sure exactly how the mistake happened, and Rajter called ComEd and asked them to come to her house and physically read her meter.
“They just said ‘Sometime next week,’” she said.
“It’s kind of comical if you look at it that way,” Rajter said, not exactly laughing.
And she said she won’t be laughing Friday if there’s no money left in her bank accounts — though ComEd has assured her the scheduled deduction has been canceled.
A ComEd spokesman Tuesday said the company could not tell on short notice of exactly how the mistake occurred, but hoped to know soon. In the meantime the utility said the Rajters’ electric bill has been zeroed out, and apologized for any inconvenience.
With everything hopefully resolved, Rajter said she’s able to see a bit of humor in her travails. She certainly has a unique conversation piece in the whopping bill, suitable for framing.
She said she trusts ComEd will straighten it out. Still, she admits: once bitten, twice shy.
“On (Friday), I’ll be on the phone making sure I still have money in the bank,” she said.