Tammy Beasley got the surprise of her life when she received a bill from Valiant Energy totaling nearly $820.
Her previous electric bills have averaged about $200, with the previous coming in at $224.
She said they’ve checked everything, even hiring private electricians to inspect the home they’ve only lived in for a year . She even has the bills from the home’s previous owner. None of them showing a usage near what Alliant claims Beasley used during a billing cycle from June 13 to July 13.
Alliant claims the Beasley’s used nearly 4,800kWh of electricity during the billing cycle. The U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the average U.S. household only uses about 900 kWh per month.
At one point they shut off everything at the electric panel.
"Our big hitters were completely shut down and they were still clocking and they didn’t find anything,” she said, “Even the local Alliant guy came and did his test and can’t find anything."
She then took to Facebook. She posted her dilemma to find dozens of others had a similar story, even with other electric companies. Some of their bills amounting to thousands of dollars. All racked up in just one month.
We reached out to Alliant Energy for comment. They said all of their equipment is tested in small batches before being installed, so it is functioning properly.
"We don’t install them if they aren’t recording accurately,” said Alliant Spokesperson Mike Wagner, “For customers who are concerned about their smart meters, our message is to them is that they’re accurately recording their energy use."
Alliant blames a warm May and June for a spike in electric bills. Wagner said they have reviewed bills form about 200 customers and only 8 percent showed to be higher than normal.
However, he said the company urges customers who have problems with their bill to call their customer service number: 1-800-ALLIANT.
Beasley said she has lodged a complaint with the Iowa Utility Board. The IUB regulates utility providers in the state of Iowa.
We spoke with the IUB. They said all complaints they receive are looked at and taken seriously. They will first send a letter to the utility company, who is then given time to reply. After that, the IUB works to find a resolution between the company and the customer.
The IUB provided this link that will direct you to their complaint page.