PG&E's power shutoff causes a spike in consumer's Comcast bill

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The recent widespread power outages caused by high winds and potential fire danger sparked both concern and inconvenience statewide.

The outages even caused disruption to internet service and that interruption of service lead to an increase in Comcast costs for an Alamo woman.

Mary Rayden actually started out thinking she was one of the lucky ones. Neighbors down the street from her Alamo apartment were part of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in October. But not her.
Then suddenly her luck ran out.

"Well two days into it, we lost our power due to a power line down," Mary said. "Of course, none of the stores had batteries or anything else we could buy supply wise. So we were kind of left high and dry."

As many found out, essentials such as cable and internet are also tied to electricity.

Without power, Rayden turned to her cell phone data to get internet.

Her cell phone service is also with Comcast. Her Xfinity mobile bill increased by 33 percent because she used cellular data instead of WiFi.

"I called them and said I don't think that's fair. It's your internet that went down that caused me to have to use my cellular data." Rayden said.

She said Comcast wouldn't budge. They told her she used the data and would have to pay the charges. Efforts to appeal to a manager were unsuccessful. So she contacted 7 On Your Side and we contacted Comcast.

Comcast told us it added 12,000 hotspots and made them available to everyone including non-Comcast customers during the outages.

It also credited Mary's account for more than $90 for the inconvenience.

Comcast told us, "We resolved the matter to the customer's satisfaction in a timely fashion."

"I was thrilled. I got nowhere with them and all it took was calling 7 On Your Side and it got taken care of," said Rayden.

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

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