CALL 6 : Lawsuit targets extra utility bill fees

INDIANAPOLIS – A customer filed a lawsuit against Nicor Energy Services after she was concerned about an extra charge on her monthly bill.

Kristyn Plummer said she was charged an extra $22.75 on her Vectren bill for “non-energy services.” The program, offered by Nicor, helps with the cost of repairs if a homeowner’s gas line were damaged.

Plummer lives in an apartment and said she would not need the protection plan so she did not understand the extra fee.

Attorney Vess Miller believes there are other customers who may be paying for a service they don't need.

"Obviously people who are paying for this, not knowing that it is for this service, should get their money back," said  Miller. "What we know is around 2 percent of people ever have a claim under this service, and when they do, the average claim amount they cover is less than a year of service – so basically it’s not worth the money you are paying for it." 

The Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor did not take a position on the lawsuit and representatives said line protection plans are offered by several companies.

"The two most important questions to ask are ‘do I need this’ and ‘what exactly am I getting for my money,’" said  Anthony Swinger, spokesperson of the OUCC .

 

Officials at Vectren said the line protection plan is voluntary and is often offered to new customers during the move-in process or through mail. The company said customers must sign up for the service for the charge to be applied. 

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