3 On Your Side

Homeowner gets $5,000 electric bill

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Lee Etter said APS charged him more than $5,000 for their mistake. (Source: 3TV) Lee Etter said APS charged him more than $5,000 for their mistake. (Source: 3TV)
APS said a faulty meter undercharged Etter and he had to pay the difference. (Source: (3TV) APS said a faulty meter undercharged Etter and he had to pay the difference. (Source: (3TV)
Once 3 On Your Side got involved, APS absorbed the cost. (Source: 3TV) Once 3 On Your Side got involved, APS absorbed the cost. (Source: 3TV)
sending someone out to inspect the meter, so Etter doesn’t experience a similar problem in the future. sending someone out to inspect the meter, so Etter doesn’t experience a similar problem in the future.
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Lee Etter says he does what he can to conserve energy in his small mobile home. 

"All these are LEDs. This is LED, the kitchen is LED,” Etter says as he points out light bulbs. “I've changed to LED bulbs. Everything I've put in is LED. I added new siding with more insulation just to keep up with the utility bills.”

So, as you can imagine, this Vietnam vet was shocked when he recently received a whopper of an electric bill from APS.  

“It kind of hit me in the gut,” he said. “It kind of made me a little sick!”

Sick because APS sent Etter a bill for more than $5,000. They also sent him an explanation as to why the amount was so high.

“I get this past bill that says I’m $5,000 in the hole because their meter was bad,” Etter told 3 On Your Side.

A bad meter? Etter says that shouldn't be his problem. He says APS discovered the meter was faulty when he experienced a power outage and APS came to his mobile home to inspect it. 

“So, they replaced the meter, and I got the new meter, and then they sent me a bill saying I owed $5,000," Etter said.

Etter says APS told him the faulty meter didn't accurately record $5,000 worth of electricity over an extended period of time. 

So, he needed to pay and make up the difference.   

“For example, August, this is what I paid $255.21 as billed. And if you come across over here this is what they're saying I should have paid. It’s more,” Etter said.

APS did reduce that $5,000 to around $1,800. It is an amount Etter still finds outrageous. 

"They cut it back to $1,800 but still being on a fixed income, that's hard to take," Etter said.

Etter says he's paid every one of his electric bills on time and just doesn't have more money for APS' problem.

So, 3 On Your Side got involved.  

APS tells us they have been undercharging Lee for the past 12 months due to that faulty meter.

Regardless, after our involvement, APS agreed to absorb the cost and let Etter off the hook.

Etter says he's grateful and relieved. And, he says he owes it all to 3 On Your Side. 

“It's just amazing what 3 On Your Side is doing for the residents of Arizona," Etter said.

3 On Your Side appreciates APS helping out and waiving that bill. The utility company tells us they’re also sending someone out to inspect the meter, so Etter doesn’t experience a similar problem in the future.

Copyright 2017 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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