ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Leslie Swedish of Stillwater says it’s never been smooth sailing as a New York State Electric and Gas customer. She says every year the company hits her with a higher-than-usual bill around January.

“They always say the reason is they underestimated something about the rate or the usage and didn’t charge us enough throughout the year, so they have to make up the difference,” Swedish explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

However, when she was hit with two bills in one month totaling more than $6,500 — shock just doesn’t cover it.

“I can’t not pay them, they’re going to shut my electric off. I can’t call National Grid, they don’t service this area. There’s just, there’s nothing,” she says.

Swedish says it all started around August 2022 when she didn’t get a bill from NYSEG. The same trend continued for five months, but she kept paying her usual $300 a month anyway just in case, hoping to soften the blow whenever the company got around to billing her.

She says she had tried calling NYSEG when the bills stopped, but was told a sudden spike in her usage prompted a meter reading check and she would get bills later. Swedish says she doesn’t fully accept that reasoning.

“If I felt like I was being charged properly, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I use the electric, I need to pay for it, I understand, but this doesn’t seem right,” she says.

Swedish says not only has she not gotten a paper or online bill since August 2022, all her online bills since March 2022 have been deleted from her account. She also says the January 2023 bill she got shows what she believes is a meter reading error.

“It shows an actual meter reading of February 2022, being almost 10,000 or 11,000 kW for my usage, but then if you reference my March 2022 bill and you see the February 2022 usage, it’s an actual meter reading, but it’s under 2,000 kW. And this bill no longer exist on the account. They’ve deleted it,” she says.

The Swedish family isn’t the only one. NEWS10 speaking with half a dozen local customers, most of whom can’t go on camera, but are in near tears fearing what will happen if they can’t afford to pay thousands within 21 days.

The NYS Department of Public Service reports since August 2022, there have been so many billing complaints against NYSEG and Rochester Gas & Electric—both owned by Avangrid Incorporated—that they’ve now opened an investigation and offered public forums to affected customers.

A spokesperson responding to NEWS10 assured the state agency will hold the utilities accountable in a statement:

Ensuring customer bills are accurate is the singular responsibility of the utility. We hold utilities accountable for any billing errors and we will require the companies to hold customers harmless. Determination of next steps in the investigation will be determined after the public comments and statements are reviewed and appropriately considered.

James Denn, Public Information Officer, NYS Public Service Commission 

“I’m glad somebody is listening, but there needs to be action now,” says Swedish.

A NYSEG representative responds they cannot comment on specific customers complaints, but provided a statement saying:

While NYSEG and RG&E have not been immune from the effects of COVID on our utility, such as a severe staffing shortage, we understand the impacts some of our customers have faced with their bills. In fact, we have already made significant progress by hiring 120 new customer service representatives, with 100 more coming this year, which has and will continue to result in reducing customer issues and streamlining our billing processes. But make no mistake, along with providing safe, reliable service to more than 1,290,000 customers, addressing billing issues continues to be a top priority, and we are committed to ensuring customer bills are sent out timely and accurately. We encourage NYSEG customers with questions and concerns or need assistance with their bills to call 888-315-1755 immediately or visit

Alexis L. Arnold, Avangrid New York Communications Manager