Customers surprised to be charged during power shutoff

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KMAX/KVOR/CNN) - Why should customers pay for something they don't use?

Shawna Turner shows the bill from PG&E, reflecting charges on days her power was shut off. (Source: KMAX, KOVR via CNN)

That's a question many Californians are asking right now after they received bills during a power shutoff.

"It's frustrating. It's very frustrating,” said Shawna Turner, a PG&E customer.

Turner lost power for more than a week in October. She checked the bill for each day she was in the dark and was surprised to find charges for estimated usage on those days.

"Estimated, estimated, estimated and then down and we use the same amount of power. I want to know why I'm getting billed. I had no power,” Turner said.

People all over the El Dorado County area have taken to social media, saying they had the same problem.

When asked why people have estimated charges on days there was no power, PG&E said, "This should not be happening."

Some people noticed a message on their online account saying online usage data may temporarily reflect estimated, not actual usage.

Meantime, Turner wants others to keep a close eye on their next bill.

"Check your bill guys - PG&E is charging us,” Turner said.

The confusion over billing comes less than a month after the most recent power shutoff during which local businesses suffered big losses and people scrambled to charge medical equipment.

To help alleviate struggles during these shutoffs, PG&E offered homeowners a $100 credit if they went more than 48 hours without power.

As of Wednesday evening, many people said they have yet to see that credit.

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