Melissa Peirce and her husband circled their rural Charleston home, hunting for evidence of an electricity thief. Their power bill had more than tripled, and they suspected a cheat was tapping into their power lines.
But they found no suspicious wires, and no signs of a filcher.
“We live in the middle of nowhere,” Peirce said.
So they considered how they could be using so much more electricity. They bought a new water heater. They asked around.
Neighbors and friends weren’t seeing the same bill hikes. The Peirces’ bill had jumped to about $360 per month from about $100.
“We thought we were doing something wrong with our electricity, because we don’t keep things running all the time,” Peirce said. “Nobody’s home half the time.”
She called her power company, Bangor Hydro. Her beef wasn’t with the power company, she learned. Bangor Hyrdro delivered the power through their lines, but another company actually supplied it. Peirce had forgotten she’d signed up to get that supply from FairPoint Energy, one of 16 “competitive electricity providers” operating in Maine in 2014.
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