Gas bill blues: Business owner over-charged nearly $10k

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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has a warning about a utility scam. (WABC)

Jacki and Marty Alvo are at wit's end over this whopper, their wig shop's gas bill.

"It's about $9,500." Marty Alvo was shocked to see their gas usage blow up in one billing cycle, from around 100 thermal units in February to more than 10 thousand in March.

"It's got to be a mistake. It's a joke. It can't really happen," said Marty.

The business owners had just switched to a third party energy supplier this winter, so Marty called the new provider. "They told me they do not read meters that they get the info from National Grid and they bill you so it's not their fault," said Marty.

When he called primary power company, National Grid? "They said it's a mistake. I said, 'OK' so correct it," said Marty.

But month after month the bill kept getting bigger National Grid's mistake put Jacki's Wig shop in hot water

The stress has Jacki pulling her own hair out, worried she'll have to close the very personal service she has provided consistently since the 70's.

"People come in so devastated from chemo, they feel good and go out looking like themselves," said Jacki.

After putting us on the case in May, Marty and Jackie can finally get back to what they do best.

National Grid chopped nearly 10 grand off their bill.

"Thank you so very much we were going crazy for all those months," said Jacki.

They even got a letter of apology from the utility. "You did a great job. 7 On Your Side, thank you very much."

The Alvos have since switched back to their original gas supplier, National Grid. The big takeaway, know what you're getting into, don't switch over the phone, get the deal in writing, ask questions about the rate, is it fixed, is it variable is their a cancellation fee? And lastly, review bills carefully. Their bill was obvious there was a problem. Many problems are more subtle. If you don't check every bill, you might not spot a problem that costs you money.
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