Power Play

An electric meter mystery has been solvedbut not resolvedin one Little Rock subdivision.

It's a problem that may be more common than you think.

It is probably only a problem in new subdivisions or neighborhoods with new construction.

If you live in such an areaand your electric bill has spiked without explanationpay attention.

As a first time homebuyer, Anthea Horn honestly didn't know how much her utility bills would be.

"I'd never lived in a house so I thought maybe its normal for the bill to be $200 plus dollars," says Horn.

But in three months her electric bill jumped from about $130 to $360 to $550.

She had no idea whyuntil she was home from work one day and caught a construction crew working on an unfinished home next door plugging in power tools to her outside electric box.

"I called the contractor immediately," says Horn. "And he said 'Oh yeah, I'm sorry. They know not to do that. Let me call them right now and it's taken care of.' So I kind of let it go after that. Until maybea couple of days laterthey were plugged in again."

"They are specifically told not to use any neighbor's power or utility services at all," says developer James McDaniel with NuAge Construction.

"Has that happened out here?"

"Yes," says McDaniel. "It has happened. It happens. It does happen on occasion. Some of these guys don't speak very good English."

McDaniel says he and his business partner believe they have made two fair offers to Hornone for $200 and another for her highest utility bill, which was over $500.

McDaniel says this situation is not unique.

"If there is 20 subdivisions being developed in LR right now it's happening in all 20," says McDaniel.


"Oh yes," says McDaniel.

"It's that common?"

"Yeahit's common," says McDaniel.

Three weeks ago a construction crew was caught using not only water from Horn's homebut they were using her hose too.

Sowhat would Ms. Horn consider a fair offer?

She says she has been in her home more than a year now so she knows what her electric bills should be in early winter.

That difference for the months in question totals about $850 dollars.

Air date: March 1st, 2013