Illuminating Discovery: Woman Unknowingly Pays For Two Streetlights

Aug 14, 2012

A Connecticut woman who didn't know she was paying for two streetlights in front of her home for 25 years is getting a refund check. Grace Edwards of Cheshire, Conn. saw the light when a prospective buyer asked her what she was paying in power costs.

She contacted her utility, Connecticut Light and Power, and discovered she'd been paying for extra items that included "9500 Lumen HP Sodium" and "6300 Lumen HP Sodium", according to the Hartford Courant. She'd been in the dark - saying the charges had "no more relevance to me than any other line items on the bill."

The whole matter came to light when Edwards learned the prior owner of her house had been a developer and had agreed to pay for the lights. The Courant reports the arrangement didn't end when Edwards purchased the house in 1987 and the extra electricity payments didn't transfer when the developer moved to a nearby home.

Now that Edwards could enlighten the power company, she asked C-L-and-P to stop billing her, which they did this summer. But they wouldn't offer her a refund for the extra money she'd spent, notes the West Hartford News. Officials suggested she talk to officials in her town. Instead, Edwards went to Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, but when that didn't catch a spark, she turned to the state's Office of Consumer Counsel.

The Consumer Counsel's office helped the utility trip the light fantastic in just a few days; Edwards got a refund check worth nearly $10,500, according to the New Haven Register. That compensates her for a quarter century of over-payments and interest.

CL-and-P told the Register it has apologized to Edwards for the error and for inconveniencing her.

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