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High electric bills leave a local Cleveland woman shocked and struggling to pay

Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Georgene Feeman lives modestly and tries to stay on budget.

“I live in a one-bedroom apartment by myself and a cat,” she said.

Feeman is on a fixed income. She has had a stroke and triple bypass heart surgery. So imagine the pulse-raising anxiety she felt when she received these electric bills for her fifth-floor apartment.

“The electric bills are 200 dollars a month, for a one-bedroom,” she said. “I’m not home half the time. I’m either working or sleeping.”

That’s right 200-bucks a month, and she says she barely flips the light switch. That’s why she says the high electric bills are not only a surprise but more than she can pay and still afford her medications and other expenses. Her daughter Angela reads off the last four months of her mom’s electric bills.

“For the November bill, it was 145.73. Then, December was 209. 45. January was 121.84. Then February was 313.03. That was quite a jump. Yeah.”

Angela, who’s fighting cancer herself has been fighting for her mom, talking with the Cleveland Illuminating Company trying to find out what’s going on.

“When I got a hold of the Illuminating Company they said that there’s nothing they can do about it. You pay it or it will be disconnected.”

This situation leave Georgene Feeman shocked and confused.
This situation leave Georgene Feeman shocked and confused.(Ridgewood Apartments, Parma Heights, Ohio)

Pretty strong words indeed. 19 News called the Illuminating Company to see what the deal is.

“We were using the same estimated reading based off of the previous year, which would be from the prior tenant,” said Lauren Siburkis a spokesperson for the Illuminating Company.

So Angela and her mother were right. She was being charged for what she didn’t use. But here’s the rub according to Siburkis.

“This customer was not being over-charged for electricity. She is just received a larger bill to make up for the usage she was not billed for during the months she received during the lower estimated readings.”

Very little help for Georgene, but Siburkis has this advice.

“If there’s a customer out there, and they’re struggling to make ends meet, and they do receive a higher than usual electric bill we’re always willing to work with them and establish a payment plan “so they’re not on the hook for a large bill all at once.”

Always keep a watchful eye on all your bills and address them right away.

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