The news of a Connecticut woman who finally extricated a $10,491 rebate from her power company after she was charged for 25 years for the electricity going to the streetlights near her house means we should all probably be checking our bills a lot more closely. Grace Edwards of Cheshire, Connecticut ("the bedding plant capital of Connecticut") had documentation on her bill the whole time that her power company, Connecticut Light & Power, was billing her for the juice powering two streetlights at the end of her block, the Hartford Courant's Kevin Hunt reported. But she had no idea that's what her bill said. Per Hunt:
"CL&P said it was always on the bill and up to me to inform them of the mistake," Edwards says. "I said, 'How could I inform you of something I didn't know about?'"
She later found out she had been paying about $20 a month extra. Until the end, Edwards couldn't break the code of her monthly utility bill that included listings for "9500 Lumen HP Sodium" and "6300 Lumen HP Sodium."
"It has no more relevance to me than any other line items on the bill," she says.
As it turns out, the bill for the lights was supposed to go to the builder of the subdivision they illuminated, who used to live in Edwards' home, but the power company never transferred it when he moved. The takeaway from all this: Read your bill closely, and follow up on mysterious charges. Of course, as more and more towns pick up the Colorado Springs model of DIY government, with residents paying à la carte for city services, you might eventually have to shell out for those street lights anyway. That is, if you want them turned on.