PSC Chair Charlotte Lane: Where is that phone number?

By PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane,

The Public Service Commission gets hundreds of misdirected calls each year from angry utility
customers. They want to pay a bill or ask a question about their service, but they can’t find the
right number.

Almost every utility lists the Commission’s telephone number somewhere on its bill, and
frustrated customers often call us by mistake. Then they experience another round of difficulty
when PSC operators have to direct them back to reading their bill to find the correct number.
You can’t pay your bill or change your service by calling the Public Service Commission. You
must contact your utility.

So, I have studied five common utility bills. My electric bill is simple to read. On the first page,
about halfway down on the right, is a telephone number for making payment by phone. There is
also an 800 number for the customer operations center. That’s common practice with electric
companies.

My gas bill is a little busier, but the front page also includes an 800 number, clearly marked as
“general information,” for making payments or inquiries. The reverse page provides details on
bill paying options and an explanation of charges.

My water bill is from a major utility, so bills from smaller water suppliers may look different.
This bill is complex, but about halfway down on the left is an 800 number for customer service.
On my sewer bill, two-thirds of the way down on the left is a bold-faced “customer assistance”
note. As with water bills, sewer bills from smaller utilities may vary widely.

My cable bill features a block that offers “ways to pay.” My provider offers an 800 number, but
advises the customer to “upgrade your services and manage your account” by going online
otherwise. I did not find a toll-free number to call if one had a complaint.

The Public Service Commission does not regulate internet. If you have a problem with your
internet service provider and cannot work it out with the company, you should call the attorney
general’s office at (304) 558-8986. His website clearly informs citizens that his office handles
broadband and internet complaints.

So, there you have it. Hopefully, you can avoid some frustration by taking a minute to look
closely at your utility bill and find the correct number to call concerning your problems.

Major Utility Customer Service Numbers:

APCo/WPCo: 800-982-4237

Mountaineer Gas: 800-834-2070

Mon Power/Potomac Edison: 800-686-0022

Hope Gas: 800-688-4673

WV American Water: 800-685-8660

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