Richmond woman looking for answers to her $500 a month electric bill

Posted at 11:42 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 23:42:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Angelica Melara thought she had found the perfect apartment in Richmond’s Museum District.

“I came in and it was beautiful and it was the perfect size for me,” said Melara.

“She’s been living at the Midtown Gallery Apartments since May and said things had been going fine until she received her first electric bill.

“My first bill for two weeks was over $200 and that was for only 14 days,” said Melara. “After that it was in the $480 range.”

Angelica Melara

Angelica Melara

Angelica said she didn’t think that bill could be right, as her unit is just around 600 square feet, and before she moved in, her apartment complex had a different estimate.

“They told me it would be between $80 and $100 max, would be the highest my electric bill would be,” she said.

Angelica said the complex told her they looked into the issue and said they had done everything they could to help.

She even hired an attorney and stopped her September rent until she could get things resolved.

Days later, an email sent by an attorney representing Midtown Gallery Apartments offered a $250 credit, but not specific reasons as to why the bills were so high.

Midtown Gallery Apartments

Midtown Gallery Apartments

“I feel stuck,” said Melara, “I don’t know what to do, no one is giving me answers or a solution to fix the problem.”

Angelica then contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

Reporter Chelsea Rarrick contacted Dominion Virginia Power.

A Spokeswoman said they tested the meter and everything checked out fine.

She also said Melara’s usage was in line with the person who lived in the apartment before her and said it’s not an issue with Dominion but possibly has to do with the structure.

CBS 6 found out Melara wasn’t the only one dealing with high electric bills in the apartment complex.

Brittany Edwards lives downstairs and is dealing with bills reaching $500 at times.

“Month two it went up to $520 for a full month and from there its been dancing around $470-500,” said Edwards.

Brittany Edwards

Brittany Edwards

Meanwhile, Melara has this message regarding the situation,

“I just don’t want anyone else to have to deal with this,” she said, “It’s a nightmare of a process.”

CBS 6 also reached out to the attorney representing Midtown Gallery Apartments for an interview.

In an email, attorney Elizabeth Godwin-Jones sent this statement:

“Both the owners of The Gallery at Midtown and the management company value all our residents, and it is our goal to provide superior customer service. We pursue all maintenance requests vigorously and are aware of Ms. Melara's concerns.  We have worked with her and with Dominion Virginia Power, which is the electric provider and handles all meter reading and billing, to address this matter.  Due to confidentiality requirements of Virginia law we are not able to discuss any individual resident's lease with third parties.”

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