In the wake of power shutoffs, PG&E customers should check bills carefully

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- PG&E has responded to customer complaints they were billed for electricity when their power was shut off during the public safety outages last month. The utility said no one will be charged for energy that was never delivered -- however you can check your bills to be sure.

PG&E says your bills may show an "estimated usage" of electricity even when there was no electricity. That's what set off alarm bells. But the utility says the estimate won't result in actual charges. Customers say they're watching their bills closely to make sure.

Shawna Turner of El Dorado County lost power for more than a week during the public safety outages -- and so she was surprised to see a bill for her estimated usage on blackout days. "I want to know why I'm getting billed. I had no power," Turner said.

RELATED: Some PG&E customers say they got billed for electricity during Public Safety Power Shutoffs

PG&E says the bills show an estimate "only" because Smart Meters don't work during an outage. Without data, the bills automatically generate an "estimate" but that won't result in actual charges -- since there was no power delivered.

According to a PG&E spokesperson, "You can go to pge.com and click on My Account and you can see your day-to-day usage."

RELATED: Why PG&E will pay residents only $100 - and only for one shutdown

Here's how:
- Go to my account, click on energy use detail.
- It will show how much electricity you used, day by day, even hour by hour, in a bar graph.
- If power was out on any day, it will show an estimate but the bar graph will appear shaded like this.
- Then click "energy cost."
- If power was out that day, the cost should be "ZERO."

Customers affected by the first PG&E power outage on October 9th should begin to see credits in their accounts this month. Residential customers are getting $100 each and business customers will receive $250.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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