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Ask Curbed: Back Billing On Electricity Fees

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A reader with a perplexing utility bill has asked for some insight into back fees and billing services for her electric bill: "Our [shall-remain-nameless] Downtown Loft building is sub-metered which means our electric bill is issued by a 3rd Party billing service each month. Normally our bill falls between $30-$40 (2 people living in 1000 sq ft place). This month, they added an extra $275 to the bill with an 'explanation' at the bottom that said 'Please note there is an additional billing amount on your bill this month for previous amounts that should have been billed to your unit'.

Both the billing service and the building claim its some sort of flat fee (an extra $25/mo) that we should have been paying all along, but nobody can explain exactly what this fee is, or why we have to pay it. We already pay a $5 fee on top of our bill each month for the billing service - is there any justification for another unamed fee that isn't even itemized and nearly doubles our monthly bill? Plus, even if these fees were legit (which I'm kind of doubting), can they retroactively bill for 10 months of fees if they were the ones who screwed up and "forgot" to bill us in the first place? Any help or insight would be appreciated."