Bedford Co., VA- Donald and his wife, say they can barely make ends meet. Both are disabled and on a fixed income. When Donald, who didn't want to reveal his last name to ABC 13, went to his mailbox in July and saw a three hundred and eighteen dollar late fee deposit on his Appalachian Power bill, he went into shock. "I got down to the payment for this month, the month of August and now they've tacked on three hundred dollars and change."
The power giant did in fact change its policy this summer. In a statement released to ABC 13, Appalachian Power said, "For several years, (the company) has not required customers with delinquent accounts to pay an additional deposit. This summer the company re instituted the policy...What people may not know is that when a customer fails to pay their bill that cost is eventually borne by other Appalachian Power customers. The number of residential customers with delinquent accounts in Virginia is up over last year." The company goes on to say that it is "sympathetic" to its customers and will try to work with them.
However, that's not how Donald and his wife nor many of the other customers who contacted ABC 13 see it. Donald, admits he often pays late, "I don't wanna pay late. Nobody does. But our funds are limited. We sometimes run short. I think Appalachian are being like bullies." He said, it often comes down to paying for medications in his household or the light bill.
Appalachian Power says that for those customers who do have a late deposit applied to their bills, they will have three months to spread out the payment and that after twelve consecutive months of timely payments, those customers can get the deposit refunded with interest.