Woman Overpays Electricity Bill by $1,000

With a tap of the finger, Sandy Cellini sent United Illuminating a payment of $1,111.74.

"The bill was actually $111.74, so I overpaid my bill by $1,000," Cellini said.

Cellini realized the error right away. In a panic, she made a second mistake by hitting the back arrow on her browser. She thought that would cancel the transaction, but it didn’t.

"I said, 'Oh my God, where am I going to come up with this extra $1,000?' It’s a few weeks before Christmas so it was very stressful," Cellini said.

Cellini called the power company to ask about reversing the charge. She even had a representative from her bank join the call.

But Cellini said a customer service agent told her United Illuminating could only apply a credit to her account.

"I paid $1,100. The bill was $111. It’s pretty obvious I made a mistake," Cellini said.

She called United Illuminating several more times over the next few weeks trying to plead her case. Cellini said she spoke to nine different customer service agents and had to explain the situation to each one.

In a moment of desperation, Cellini even considered canceling her account.

NBC Connecticut's consumer team reached out to United Illuminating on Cellini’s behalf and asked the company to investigate.

Within a day, Cellini received a call that her refund was approved and the check arrived to her on Dec. 15.

"That was my spending money for gifts. It made all the difference receiving it back," she said.

A spokesman for United Illuminating told NBC Connecticut Responds he is unable to comment on the specifics of customer accounts.

"I can confirm that we have stayed in communication with the customer and followed our standard processes and procedures. We now believe the matter is resolved to the customer’s satisfaction," the spokesman said. 

To avoid an accidental overpayment, double check the payment amount before you authorize the transaction.

If you do make a mistake, see if you can edit or cancel the transaction through your bank’s website or directly through the company’s website.

A third option is to set up automatic payments so that the correct amount is withdrawn from your account each billing cycle.

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