Nicor — Shut Off
My name is Talisha and a single mother of five. My oldest is an eleven year old girl, a nine year old boy, a six year old boy. I have a disabled four year old boy and last but not least my four month old baby girl. I am writing this letter to ask for help. I am about to lose my home because of an outstanding Nicor gas bill.
It started about two years ago when I applied for LIHEAP. I was approved for a payment towards my bill. The next month I didn’t receive a bill. Three months later I called Nicor and asked if they could send out a bill so that I could view my account and make a payment, I was told that I would receive one in the mail but still didn’t receive a bill.
One year after LIHEAP made that payment I applied for assistance again but was told from LIHEAP that I had to have a current bill. I explained to them that Nicor hadn’t sent one in the past year since they applied a credit to my account.
The LIHEAP representative called the gas company while I was there at the LIHEAP office and requested my account information but was told that something was wrong with the meter and that they would have to come out and read the meter. I was instructed to return to LIHEAP after a technician came to read the meter and then after the new bill arrived which Nicor stated would be up to two weeks. No one ever came and read the meter. I was then unable to receive assistance for the Nicor bill because of the deadline to the LIHEAP program and the fact that I still wasn’t sent a bill.
In December of 2008 I received a -letter-, not a bill from Nicor stating that they had to turn off the gas, exchange the meter and have it tested for accuracy then restore service and conduct a safety inspection, this would take place before April of 2009. In February of 2009 Nicor gas came out and removed the meter and shut off my service without restoring them. At the time my daughter had recently been born and was premature, it was very cold outside and there was no warning or no time to prepare for living without gas.
After calling Nicor repeatedly and being told that there is nothing that can be done unless I make a payment in full of an amount that they were unable to give me because of an inaccurate meter. I was then sent two bills a bill for $5605.62 and another for $4, 385.51. I didn’t know what to do so I was told to contact the Illinois Commerce Commission to get help and file a complaint. I received a letter from ICC saying that they spoke to Nicor and my issue was resolved or satisfactorily explained, which was untrue. I then returned to LIHEAP with the new bills to apply for help and I was to pay service charges to be awarded. I was approved for payment in April of 2009 which left the bill around $2900.
I contacted Nicor in May of 2009 to receive the bill for the current amount owed after payments had been made so that I can make payments on my account when I was then told that the bill is now in excess of $6000. I asked why was the bill was higher if payments have been made after the service was shut off and was told that they made arrangements to the account that they took back. As I explained the situation to the representative I was treated as if it was my fault the meter was broke.
Now I am in risk of being homeless because of this bill. Please help or guide me in the right direction to resolve this problem. I have received a 5 day notice because the housing authority has stopped payments to the landlord. How can my family and I be penalized for a mistake on their behalf? How can they not bill me for two years and tell me something is wrong with the meter and expect me to pay two years in full or no service that is ridiculous and they need to be put to a stop. I have read of many others experiencing the same issues as myself. Now the bill is so out of hand no one wants to assist me. I have contacted all types of agencies that claim to offer homeless prevention programs and other programs that say they can’t help. I don’t know which way to go or who to contact that will help. Please assist me!!!
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