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Alliant Energy - wrong meter readings, subsequent back charges

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7:15 pm
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My June bill showed I had used 2.5x as many kWh compared to the same period last year. That made no sense to me because I haven't changed my usage pattern and the average temps were comparable. So I did some investigation on the meters for our complex of 12 apartments and found that some had 2 numbers--an original number and a different one that was written in paint pen beside it.
I spoke with the apartment manager and he said that several years ago they had some confusion about the numbers on the meters matching the apartment and an electrician came out, tested them all and found many of them wrong, noted the correct numbers in paint pen beside the original (incorrect) numbers and notified Alliant. As far as the manager knew, that had resolved the problem. But I did some further investigation, turning off the circuit breakers to my apartment, and discovered my meter and apt. 10 were reversed--he was being charged for my usage and I for his. We've both lived here for about the same time, 20 months.
I called Alliant and tried to explain the problem to them. The CS Rep I talked to said she would send a service guy out. He came out 2 weeks ago, I explained the whole thing to him and he confirmed that at least 6 apartments have been having their meters read wrong. He told me (the apartment manager was present also) that they would correct the situation and that, since nobody had been trying to scam the company or steal electricity, they would not back-charge people for Alliant's mistake.
When I checked my bill online today, I found a charge for $450 dollars. Another tenant is apparently being charged $1200. The apartment manager says they're figuring back 18 months and charging/crediting accordingly.
I phoned Alliant Customer Service, and the woman I spoke with told me that there's nothing that can be done about it. I have to pay that amount because I used that amount of electricity and she could set up a payment plan for 12 months.
I didn't make this problem, in fact I brought it to their attention. Granted, I was unaware that I was using more electricity than apartment 10, but it was important to me to have the correct billing for my usage regardless.
If they can legally do this, then I guess there's nothing you or I can do.
Except decrease my usage. I have put my water heater on vacation setting and unplugged my refrigerator. Needless to say, I won't be using any more air conditioning. They may get their 'back' money from me, but I will absolutely curtail their forward money.
To me, this is morally reprehensible. I would appreciate any help you can provide.
Thank you for your time.
Laurel VanWilligen

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4902 N Biltmore Ln, Wisconsin United States