3OYS: Scottsdale woman 'heated' over $619 gas bill

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz -- “Love Arizona, love the heat, been here my whole life," says Melissa Batchelor. She says so far, life in Scottsdale has been pretty good. But a recent bill from Southwest Gas had her upset. "Disappointed, frustrated, and angry," she says.

That reaction came after she was contacted by Southwest Gas regarding her meter, which was reportedly not registering correctly. Melissa says that was news to her.

"The appropriate repairs have been made. We have made necessary billing adjustments, a corrected bill will be mailed to you."

The corrected bill was the result of that faulty meter. Apparently, it wasn't recording the right amount of gas used by Melissa. After the new one was installed, Southwest Gas crunched some numbers and came up with the amount they believed Melissa owed: "$619.62.”

$619 is outrageous when you find out Melissa's monthly gas bill is right around $50.  However, for five straight months, April, May, June, July and August her bills were only around $12. That's because that meter had apparently broken, and explains why it had to be replaced, but Melissa thinks making up for the gas she used with one big check just isn't right. "I’m willing to definitely work with you guys and pay those five months that the meter wasn't working but I’m not willing to have you guys gouge me."

Melissa says she's also upset because even if the meter was faulty, it's not her problem. I also don't feel like it's my job to check the meter and try and figure out what's going on."

Melissa says she can't afford a $619 dollar gas bill, but every time she called, she says the gas company didn't want to hear it. "They've just passed me off to one person and one person and I tell my story five different times and nobody wants to work with me," she says.

So, she contacted 3 On Your Side, and we reached out to Southwest Gas. The company told us:  "Southwest Gas Customer Assistance worked with the customer to establish a payment salutation to the service fees owed."

They also cut the amount they claim she owes in half, to around $300. Melissa says that amount is much more manageable and thanks 3 On Your Side.

"Until 3 On Your Side got involved nobody wanted to listen to me, nobody, even though I was a human being on the phone," she says. "So we are very happy, very pleased with the results and couldn't thank you guys enough."

Southwest Gas was great to work with and of course, we appreciate the fact they cut that gas bill in half.