7 On Your Side: Widow fights shutoff notice in battle over already paid electric bill

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Tuesday, February 8, 2022
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda talks to a single mom who was having power problems and facing a shutoff notice.

BERGEN COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A single mom from Bergen County was having power bill problems, with her utility threatening to cut her electricity because of a delinquent $104 bill she says she paid two years ago.

"It was just eating at me," Bobbi Teibel said.

She was ticked about a bolded red warning letter from Rockland Electric.

"It's a final shutoff notice," she said. "They're going to shut off my electric because I'm past due on $104.72."

The mother of three who was widowed in 2015 is also an accountant, so she's meticulous with her family finances and knew that bill was paid back in 2019.

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"I know I don't have any outstanding checks," she said. "I balance my checkbook multiple times a month."

The bill was for a temporary apartment she rented in Saddle River while in between homes, and the notice said she never paid the December/January bill from 2019.

She provided the canceled check, plus her bank statement to the utility.

"This is ridiculous," she said. "I sent this three times."

She's also called Rockland Electric repeatedly.

"I called again January 3, and I talked to somebody different and I explained it to him," she said. "And he said either him or the other person or I will get back to you. And I never heard from them again."

Worried about a collapsing credit score, Teibel almost threw in the towel and just paid the bill -- but she's a 20-year breast cancer survivor, and retreating isn't her style.

"I'm a widow with a college kid, and I'm working at a school," she said. "I don't make lot of money, so $104 is a lot to me. So I wasn't just going to pay it again."

The shutoff notice put her over the edge.

"This is the last straw," he said. "For $104. What am I going to do with no power, no heat?...I'm like, this is ridiculous, I'm going to call Nina."

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We asked Rockland Electric to review Teibel's case, and officials there said they couldn't find any proof they cashed the check. There's usually a stamp on the back, which wasn't there, and the check was mysteriously deposited to a Wells Fargo account when the utility uses Chase.

But given Teibel's excellent credit history, the utility credited the account and terminated the shutoff notice.

"I will not have my power shut off, which is the best news," she said. "And thank you, because I could've only done it with you and 7 On Your Side and your team. You're awesome."

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