Senior citizen slapped with large gas bill after years of incorrect meter readings

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Senior slammed with large PGW bill: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., April 3, 2018 (WPVI)

A 71-year-old North Philadelphia woman has been slapped with a huge gas bill because a faulty meter was not giving accurate readings.

PGW says the meter wasn't correctly measuring Minerva Roman's natural gas usage. Therefore, she wasn't correctly billed over time.

The utility is now trying to collect a large sum they say they are owed for the incorrectly measured past usage.

It's brought Roman, who is on a fixed income, to tears.

"They have a defective meter for so many years," said Roman. "Why do they make me pay for it? They should have to pay for it, not me."

Roman says she got hit with a gas bill of almost $7,000 last month after PGW replaced her meter in January.

The company tells Action News the original meter had not been correctly measuring her natural gas usage.

Once replaced with a new meter, her monthly bill went from an average of $13 to around $100. She was also billed for past usage she had never been charged for.

Roman said she didn't think the original bill was too low, because it was consistent.

"I thought it was normal because I've always had it like that," she said. "But I don't have any other house to check the different prices."

It's not immediately clear how long the original meter had been improperly working, but PGW says her current bill is accurate.

The company offered the following statement regarding the incident: "We didn't adhere to our customer processes, and the manner in which the situation was handled fell short of our standards."

The utility company says it's working to put Roman on a payment plan where she doesn't have to pay the $7,000 in one lump sum. But Roman says that's not good enough.

"It was their mistake. Their meter wasn't working properly," she said. "I can only pay $25 a month. I can't pay any more than that. I live on a fixed income. I can't afford higher bills than what I have now."

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