ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – NYSEG customers got the chance to bring their complaints to the New York State Department of Public Services on Tuesday, in the first of five forums regarding late bills, overpriced electricity, and bad customer service.

Starting at 1:00 p.m. on January 31, 2023, the DPS heard three-minute complaints from NYSEG and Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) customers in one of two virtual forums that day. The two utility companies are owned by the same parent company.

Customers brought up problems with inaccurate bills, unusually high bills, late bills, sitting on hold with NYSEG for hours at a time, and hard-to-follow billing patterns. These complaints mirror what DPS said it’s been seeing for months now.

One man from Ithaca said that after $0 bills in August and Sept. 2022, his Oct. 2022 bill was over $500 on paper, but his online account showed no bill. Furthermore, the man said in hours-long phone calls, NYSEG told him it would correct the bill but later backpedaled and said the $500 was correct to begin with.

“You just don’t feel like you can trust this company that is solely responsible for your electric utility,” said one frustrated customer from the Buffalo area. “We have vast concerns because we have no other option in our area.”

Another customer from Cayuga County said that NYSEG generated seven bills at once for her meter readings on Jan. 31 after months of complicated and messy billing cycles.

DPS said it was holding the forums because in 2022—especially since August 2022—it’s seen a dramatic increase in complaints (“unusual amounts of complaints”) against NYSEG and its customer service. Specifically, DPS said customers reported high and inaccurate bills based on inaccurate estimated meter readings. Customers have also reportedly complained about being unable to reach NYSEG customer service over the phone or having to sit on hold for long periods.

There will also be three in-person forums in the coming days in Rochester, Somers, and Binghamton.