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Senior Citizen Forced to Pay Large Gas Bill After Years of Incorrect Meter Readings

Minerva Roman, a 71-year old senior citizen woman from Philadelphia, was shocked when she received her gas bill last month. She was being charged with a huge amount of money due to incorrect meter readings she had for years.
Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) says that the meter installed in her house was not accurately measuring Roman's normal gas usage -- the reason why she was not correctly billed over time.

PGW is now trying to collect the huge amount that, according to them, Roman owes for her past usage. For someone who is on a fixed income like Roman, it is definitely distressing.

"They have a defective meter for so many years," Roman said. "Why do they make me pay for it? They should have to pay for it, not me."

Roman's monthly bill after her faulty meter was replaced has become around $100 from an average of $13. She was also billed with almost $7,000 for the past usage she had not been charged for before.

Roman said she didn't think that she was being charged too low before because it has always been the same. "I thought it was normal because I've always had it like that. But I don't have any other house to check the different prices," she explained.

It was not yet clear for how long her meter was not working properly but PGW says her current meter is now correct.

Regarding the issue, the utility company said in a statement, "We didn't adhere to our customer processes, and the manner in which the situation was handled fell short of our standards."

Additionally, PGW said that they are working on putting Roman on a payment plan where she would not have to pay the whole $7,000 in one payment. But Roman says it is not enough.

"It was their mistake. Their meter wasn't working properly," she said. "I can only pay $25 a month. I can't pay any more than that. I live on a fixed income. I can't afford higher bills than what I have now."

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