PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Port Richey woman says her utility bill has doubled since Duke Energy attached a splitter to her meter and connected it to her neighbor’s meter.
Megan Vinkler says she was out of town on June 5. When she returned on June 10, she discovered a splitter on her meter.
Vinkle contacted Duke Energy and was told the neighbor’s power went out and, because they have a bad wire, they needed to connect a splitter to her home.
Vinkler claims she was assured the splitter would be removed within a few days and there would be no impact on her bill.
When the splitter was not removed by June 12, Vinkler contacted Duke Energy again and was told it would be removed Tuesday.
Now she’s being told it could be a few weeks before the splitter is disconnected while crews fix her neighbor’s bad utility lines.
Vinkler’s latest electric bill was $195.99, when the billing cycle before it was $76.36.
She said Duke Energy explained the increase was due to the hot temperatures.
According to the Public Service Commission, it is unlikely that the utility tapped the customer’s side of the meter since the back of the meter can is attached to the house.
A power company can tap into the service drop, where the power comes into the meter can, which is the utility’s property.
Vinkler worries about the live wire because she has a dog and an 8-year-old daughter and says the area is no longer safe.
In a statement from Duke Energy:
“Duke Energy has a regulatory obligation to serve all customers who request service. The equipment that was used to provide power to the neighboring property, was on Duke Energy’s side of the meter. This means the customer was not and is not being charged for the neighbor’s usage. A customer’s energy bill can fluctuate from month to month and year to year, depending on a variety of factors. There are a variety of energy efficiency programs our customers can use to help.”