Forget taxes — for one unlucky Midwood family, nothing is certain but death and utility bills.
Con Ed has charged a family thousands of dollars in electricity bill at a home on East 10th St. that has been vacant since a relative died more than two years ago.
Retired high school teacher Betty Wallach’s mother, May, died on Christmas day 2011 — but that hasn’t stopped the utility from charging approximately $200 in electric bills each month.
“Nobody paid attention,” she said of the multiple Con Ed employees she has spoken to since last year. “They just don’t want to fix this because it will cost them money.”
Wallach, who lives in with her husband in Marine Park, didn’t notice the pricy bills right away.
But after bills started showing up in her mother’s mailbox last year, Wallach reached out to customer service reps. At their request, she sent pictures of the meter in the basement, which indicated little electricity usage.
Reps promised to fix the billing issue and refund the money but never acted on the complaint and eventually began ignoring her.
At wits end, Wallach shot off a series of letters to former Con Ed Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burke and to the utility’s new top boss, John McAvoy, to no avail.
On Tuesday, however, she tried a different route — messaging Con Ed via Twitter.
“Ideas?” she tweeted to her four followers this week. “Con Ed billing over $1,200 for my deceased relative’s empty house. They owe us refund, but keep charging.”
After inquires by The News, a Con Ed spokesman called Wallach and offered to help.
“I spoke to our customer operations and they discovered a billing error resulting in the high bill,” said Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz. “We’ve adjusted the account and the customer will see a credit shortly.”
But Wallach is still furious.
“Why did it take so long?” she asked, noting the refund may not cover the 14 months of over charges.
And the electric company could not identify one of the customer service reps who exchanged emails with Wallach.
The mess comes as rates continue to spike across New York.
The average New Yorkers bill for 300 kilowatt hours jumped by 22 percent, from $97 in January 2013 to $118 in January 2014.
“But they shouldn’t be billing on the backs of deceased people,” Wallach said. “What if I couldn’t fight back? What if this was just an estate of a deceased person?”