‘No heads up’: Meter mix-up causes unexpected, high electric bill for Independence salon

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — While people are dealing with increasing electric bills due to the hot temperatures, one metro woman found out her bill for the last year was a big mistake.

Ashlee Kemp, co-owner of Hair Vibez Beauty Bar in Independence, said she was unexpectedly hit with a $700 electric bill last month.

“Out of somewhere, it went up to $700, and that’s what they expect us to pay. We have to come out of our pocket with that. It will hurt us,” Kemp said.

Most of us count on our utility company to get it right, but in this case, Kemp said, they didn’t.

For the last year since she moved into the salon space, she said she paid under $10 with the help of a small business pandemic relief credit for her electricity bill.

But according to Independence Utilities, her meter was not only wrong — now she’s being charged the backpay for the months it was incorrect.

Kemp said she doesn’t understand how the problem wasn’t addressed months or even a year ago.

“Should have emailed us, a phone call or something. That way we would have a heads up. This is why your bill has been so low. We have to adjust your meter and fix it to the proper state. We never got that heads up,” Kemp said.

A spokesperson for the city of Independence and Independence Utilities said a letter was sent in September requesting access to the meter. They said cards were also left each month regarding the matter.

Kemp said the meter is located in the back of the building she’s leasing, and the owner of the building manages the site that is often locked.

Kemp said she shouldn’t be responsible for this mix-up.

“At the end of the day, if we can’t do anything about it, we have to pay it. We have to keep the lights on in here,” Kemp said. “Just try to figure out how to pay this bill. But we will still keep grinding and building our clientele and business in the meantime, but we definitely got to get this bill taken care of.”

Her advice to anyone who may end up in this situation is always keep a watchful eye on all your bills and address them the right way.

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