11/16/2012 10:25 am ET Updated Nov 16, 2012

Ira Ludwick, Maryland Man, Receives $19,000 Pepco Utility Bill

Everyone complains about high utility bills, but one Maryland man went a lot further to protest an outrageous tab.

Ira Ludwick, a hair stylist from Bethesda, Md., received a $19,000 power bill in October from Pepco, WUSA9 News reports. After opening a new 2,800-square-foot hair salon over the summer, Ludwick said he expected his bill to be around $500 a month.

Ludwick contacted Pepco and argued that the bill must have been a mistake. The company said no, claiming that its internal investigation found the meter reading accurate.

Ludwick continued to protest, and Pepco continued to pile on the charges. When Ludwick received a final bill for more than $24,000, he contacted a consumer protection agency, which suggested he share his story with local news stations.

Once Pepco got wind that the media was involved, things started looking up for Ludwick. Another investigation found that when the meter was certified it was labeled incorrectly, causing Ludwick to be billed for power he wasn't consuming. Pepco acknowledged the error and the bill was resolved.

This isn’t the first time that Pepco has landed in hot water over its utility bills.

After a power outage in Maryland this summer, Pepco billed customers who lost power for fixed costs associated with infrastructure that delivers power to customers. Under this Bill Stabilization Adjustment, Maryland is the only state where regulators allow utilities to recoup their losses directly from customers, WUSA-TV/9News reports.

Ludwick is hardly the first person to be sent an erroneous power bill. In June, a Texas woman received a utility bill for close to $1.4 million. It was later revealed that the power company falsely charged her $1,000 per kilowatt hour rather than the normal rate of 8 to 12 cents an hour.

A British woman who usually spends about $130 a month on her electric bill recently received an erroneous bill for $23,000.

This summer, a Connecticut woman was reimbursed for $10,500 after it was discovered that Connecticut Light & Power had been billing her for 25 years to power the streetlights near her home.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify what Pepco billed its customers for after a storm caused power outages in Maryland this summer.



Outrageous Bills