Thousands of people in Anderson County got a huge shock when they opened their electric bills this month. Most of them were much higher than usual, some hundreds of dollars more.
And it had nothing to do with the weather. Kentucky Utilities officials blame a meter reader. But now, some people in Lawrenceburg are wondering how they'll pay their bills.
"The highest bill I've ever received was around $150 and that was in the middle of winter," said Kelsey Stumph.
So imagine the shock Stumph got when she received her utility bill for $485.99.
"I couldn't believe it, I just wanted to cry..that's all, cry," she said.
At first, KU thought it was a problem with one of her appliances or the meter itself. But soon, the utility company realized a meter reader had been wrongly reading thousands of meters in Anderson County for the past five and a half months.
"We are taking a real hard look at this...to see what we can do to keep this from happening again," said KU Spokesperson Cliff Feltham.
Feltham said the meter reader was an employee for Tru Check, a company they contract to read meters all across central Kentucky.
He says once KU crews went back and made accurate readings, that's when they figured out a majority of the 5,800 customers affected had been undercharged for months, resulting in the inflated bills this month.
"We're working with everyone affected, and trying to do whatever we can to help them pay these bills," Feltham said.
Families like the Stumphs, will get up to six-months to pay off their bills. That will come to $70 more a month for this family that lives pay check to pay check.
"That's a lot of money, a whole weeks worth of groceries for us," Stumph said.
She says it's the meter reader who needs to be held responsible. KU says he's no longer an employee of Tru Check, but, at this time, he's not been criminally charged.
"It's ridiculous, just by losing his job, he's affected the whole community," she said.
Our repeated phone calls to Tru Check were not returned.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission says they have received many phone calls today from people in Lawrenceburg, questioning their electric bills.
The PSC says KU is expected to allow customers to make payments without any late fees. They've also set up a hot-line for people to call if they feel their electric bill is not being handled properly.
That number is 1-800-772-4636.