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Soaring electric bill prices are stunning many people in Independence

Posted: 7:23 PM, Jul 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-27 17:05:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many people in Independence are saying their bills have more than doubled or they never received their bill in the mail at all. One of those people is Charles Riling, “Took a month and a half to get June's bill.”

Riling is frustrated at how much it is, “Going from $110-$250, $300 in three months is ridiculous," Riling’s bills are normally around $150 a month but noticed in July it spiked to nearly $300.

“I don't run my AC at 72 it's a 75. I'm gone all day, my wife's gone all day so we're not here 16 hours a day," said Riling.

It’s a similar story from Samantha Stewart.

“We got the bill opened it and it was almost $300 and our bill for the last two years that we lived there have never been more than $100-$120 so to get a bill that was double that was insane," said Stewart. 

Stewart said she’s been paying her bill at IPL for the past seven to eight years and never ran into any problems.

“All good credit, have never been late, have always paid in full and I'm still leery about this whole thing because I don't know why my bill was so high, we haven’t been home this last month," said Stewart. 

The City of Independence said they overhauled its utility billing system on May 22 and since then, they’ve received a flood of calls about everything from unusually high bills to not getting them at all.

“We are monitoring those questions, and have an extensive list that we are working through,” said Independence Public Information Officer Meg Lewis.

Independence Power and Light will be doing an internal audit to see what is going on. Lewis said one thing that can lead to these higher bills is the heat wave.

“We have seen a very warm summer and a very dry summer which are going to impact those usage numbers," Lewis said.

Many residents are not buying it.

“It was hot last year too, it was going to be hot next year. So how is there a $200 price difference from this year to last year?” said Stewart.

Another frustration some customers are having is they are getting delinquent notices are fearing their electricity will be turned off. The city said that will not happen except in extreme cases such as bad checks.

While frustrations continue to grow, they hope something gets done about it fast.

“I don't mind paying my bill if it's high, it's high but when it jumps from $100 to $140, $130 in one month and the next it jumps $40-$50 bucks in a four-day difference there's something wrong,” said Riling.

The internal audit is underway and it’s unclear how long it will last.

If you have a problem with your bill, you are urged to call customer service at (816) 325-7930, email: utilitycustomerservice@indepmo.org, or pay in person at 17221 E. 23rd Street S.Independence, MO 64057.

A previous version of the story had the wrong phone number for customer service.