Bronx lady gets $17,000 gas bill to heat vacant apartment in the summer

WILLIAMSBRIDGE, Bronx (WABC) -- A Con Edison customer needed a hand from 7 On Your Side after receiving a monster of a bill for nearly $17,000 for two months of gas and heat.

The behemoth of a bill has been haunting Lorna Davis since last summer.

The ConEd customer said she owes roughly $16,900 and can't afford to pay up.

The full-time home health aide who kept working for her patient throughout COVID is also mother of four and grandma to four.

She rents out the upper floor of her Bronx town home to help make ends meet.

The monster bill was for gas and heat in the 1,000 square-foot unit. It's connected to its own a smart meter.

ALSO READ | Ghost guns: Eyewitness News investigates a growing menace
EMBED More News Videos


Davis' upstairs tenant usually pays their own utilities, including hot water, cooking gas and heat.

However, there were two strange things. The five-figure bill was for a period between July 28 to early October.

No heat was on, and the landlord knows that because her rental was vacant when the charges occurred.

Davis said the upstairs tenant left and that nobody was up there.

In the preceding months, the gas bill was tiny. It was under $100 per month.

Davis said she called ConEd more than a half dozen times.

"Every time I call them, they tell me it's a mistake and they would work on it, and they would call back," she said. "Give them a month. Give them two months. Nobody ever called me back."

But then in March came the back-breaker. Davis got a notice that ConEd had sent her bogus bill to collections.

"Yeah, and they are constantly calling my phone, calling my phone...'You have to set up a payment plan,'" she said she was told. "And I said. 'No, I'm not talking about a payment plan.'"

Davis said she's very frustrated. That's why Davis' daughter reached out to 7 On Your Side.

"She was very worried, constantly calling and saying what is this is $17,000 and how am I gonna pay it," Crescencia Davis said. "So, I said, 'Listen, Nina is on TV, let's reach out to Nina and see if she can help.'"

7 On Your Side contacted ConEd. The utility said it couldn't talk specifics because of customer privacy.

They said that they regret any inconvenience their error causes for customers.

A week after 7 On Your Side got involved, Lorna Davis said her $17,000 bill vanished.

She said a utility manager even called to personally apologize and sent her a corrected bill.

The monster of a bill was tamed to a modest $40.95.

"Thank you, Nina, 7 On Your Side, I couldn't do it without you," Davis said.

----------
SHARE YOUR STORY

Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Fill out the form below or email your questions, issues, or story ideas by filling out the form below or by emailing 7OnYourSideNina@abc.com. All emails MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND CELLPHONE NUMBER. Without a phone number, 7 On Your Side will not be able to respond.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.