Indy family hit with $1,589.74 heating bill

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INDIANAPOLIS – Many Hoosiers expected higher gas bills this winter, but one Central Indiana family got a shock when February’s gas bill showed up.

Tina Fanning said she opened up her Vectren gas bill on Saturday to find her payment due was $1,589.74. Her bill in January was only $147.50.

“I was at the mailbox. I didn’t even know if I could drive,” she said. “I was just like there is no way this is possible.”

She doesn’t think it makes any sense, because she and her family live in a 14×70 mobile home on the west side of Indianapolis and they keep the temperature in the low 70’s. The family even had the home checked for gas leaks, but everything checked out.

“We had a three bedroom house before we got this and it was a lot bigger. It was 1,800 square foot and our bill was never over $200.”

Fox 59 called Vectren to find out what was going on. A company spokeswoman told us, due to the extreme weather conditions, Vectren was unable to read some customers’ meters and had to estimate their bills based on past usage.

Now that those meters were being read, Vectren began sending out bills to customers to pay for any shortfalls.

“We charged you $147 when your bill was really $300,” Fanning recalled the customer service representative telling her. “Why would you estimate it when you can get to a gas meter? It’s right there!”

She said the company is going to place her on a payment plan, but she’s afraid with an income of about $2,000 a month, she may not be able to afford that either.

A Vectren spokeswoman also told Fox 59 the company was looking into Fanning’s bill to make sure there wasn’t a mistake made.

Fanning said she has called various organizations looking for help with her bill, but hasn’t received a call back yet.