Electrician says it’s ‘impossible’ for woman to rack up $500 worth of usage

Posted at 11:07 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 19:52:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- After Angelica Melara reached out to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers regarding concerns with an unusually high electric bill, CBS 6 decided to bring an electrician into her apartment to see for himself.

Melara said since May, her bills have been nearly $500 a month, and she has paid around $2,000 in electric bills.

Dennis O’Neil with Current Electric has been an electrician for nearly 30 years.

O’Neil said that it appears Melara’s bill shouldn’t be running this high.

Angelica Melara

Angelica Melara

CBS 6 Reached out the Gallery at Midtown Apartments again on Wednesday.

In a statement from the company’s attorney, they said they’ve already taken steps to look into the issue, such as having an electrician check that wiring was installed correctly.

The company also stated that they encourage residents to follow up with Dominion.

However, Dominion has told CBS 6 it’s not an issue on their end, as all the meters have tested out fine, and it’s likely the issue could have to do with the structure of the building.

“What could possibly rack up a $500 electric bill?” asked reporter Chelsea Rarrick. “Water heater could do it, the HVAC system could do it, that’s really it,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil pointed out that Melara didn’t have many lights in her apartment and even with leaving all them on, it wouldn’t rack up a bill that high.


CBS 6 even took a look at the amount of kilowatts Melara used in her apartment.

We compared it to Chelsea Rarrick’s three bedroom apartment, which is double the size of Melara’s.

In July, Chelsea’s bill showed 760 kilowatts used.

For Angelica, she had over 3,600 kilowatts.

O’Neil also said unless Rarrick wasn’t doing any laundry, it’s not possible for Melara to rack up that much usage.

When asked if it’s possible that Melara was using that much more electricity in July, O’Neil said no.


Since our story aired, many viewers have reached out to CBS 6 to keep looking into the problem.

Others were residents saying they have also had higher than normal electric bills, but not as high as Melara’s.

“My electric bills have been above 200 twice and around $174 once,” said Sam Farhi who lives in the building next to Melara’s.

While we don’t know what the actual cause for the high bills is, Dominion did say that although it’s not their issue, they do recommend doing energy audits to see what exactly is happening.

CBS 6 suggested that to the attorney for the apartment complex who said she will contact them about their services Thursday.

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