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Richmond sent him a $1400 gas bill and took months to fix the mistake: 'Awful customer service'

Posted at 3:28 PM, May 17, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- The City of Richmond drastically reduced two bills one customer received from Richmond Gas Works after CBS 6 Problem Solver Melissa Hipolit got involved. Taylor Krafcik put his life on hold for months as he tried to get the situation resolved.

"At first they were saying we will be right out there, this is a mistake on our part, they told me it would be done in a week, that was eight months ago," Krafcik said.

In fact, Krafcik carries the most recent version of the bill inside his laptop bag, so he can call the city right at 8 a.m. on his way to work.

He said that was the only time he can actually get through to someone on the other line.

"They always say the same thing, 'Oh we're going to escalate this and make sure the technicians are going to come out,' and they just never come out," Krafcik said.

Richmond Gas Bill
Taylor Krafcik explains his gas bill problem to Melissa Hipolit.

The first of two shocking bills arrived in October 2022.

Krafcik's gas bills from his old apartment typically showed between one and 27 CCFs of use, and ran him "$14, $13 dollars at the low end, and high end maybe upper 30s but not $1,400."

On October 13, 2022, he received a bill for just under $1,400 for gas use between September and mid-October.

The bill stated the average temperature during that period was 65 degrees.

"If it's 65 degrees, do you pump your heat?" Hipolit asked.

"We don't even have the heat on at that point," Krafcik replied.

Richmond Gas Works measured his usage at 781 CCFs.

Richmond Gas Bill

"They said it was equivalent to what a commercial real estate office building would have for their gas bill," Krafcik said.

The next month, Krafcik received an additional bill for nearly $600.

Since then, Krafcik said he has not had luck getting Richmond Gas Works to come out and check the meter or reduce his bill.

"That's awful customer service. I shouldn't have to be chasing them down for eight months to get this bill handled," Krafcik said.

Hipolit reached out to the head of the Richmond Department of Public Utilities, April Bingham, on Monday, May 8, to discuss Krafcik's bill.

DPU oversees Richmond Gas Works.

In an email, Bingham said DPU would investigate the matter, follow up with the customer, and resolve the concern in a timely fashion.

Richmond Gas Bill

But, over a week later, Krafcik said he still hadn't heard from them.

"It's been eight months so they can't be too concerned about being out there in a timely manner otherwise it would be done already, so that response was kind of eye-rolling and ridiculous in my opinion," Krafcik said.

Hipolit again reached out to Bingham on Wednesday, May 17, to let her know the story would be airing, and she would have to report that Krafcik still hadn't heard from Richmond Gas Works about the bill.

That afternoon, Krafcik said he finally got the call he had been waiting to receive.

He said that someone from DPU called him and said they adjusted the bill down to about $70.

"Thanks, again, for helping. It wouldn't have gone away without you," Krafcik wrote Hipolit after receiving the call.

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