A woman has told of her horror at receiving a €232,672 annual electricity bill for the house where she lives with her 9-year-old son and mother - and how they were then cut off as the energy firm EDF investigated.
Marie Gomez says it is impossible that she could ever use that much electricity. She now plans to sue EDF for damages, asking for €232,672 – the exact amount it billed her for.
“I thought I was hallucinating,” she told France 3 Pays catalan.
A breakdown of the bill shows that €94,114 alone was for hot water when the average for this for a three-person home quoted by energy company Engie is €546 per year.
The bill was due to be paid in February 2024 but Ms Gomez, who lives in Toulouges, in Pyrénées-Orientales, also received huge monthly bills – the last of which was for €8,000.
A new estimate reduced the last monthly bill but it was still €2,566 which Ms Gomez was unable to pay. She says power to the house was then cut off.
Four days in the dark
When she called EDF to report the problem, she said EDF told her that her file ‘was closed, you owe that amount and that’s it.’
In desperation she contacted her local French media and mairie for help.
After four days in the dark, and losing all the food in their fridge and freezer, power came back after the mairie contacted EDF about the issue.
“The mairie reached out and we were able to get their electricity back that same evening. That is my role as an elected official,” said mayor Nicolas Barthe to France 3 Pays catalan.
A representative of the mairie told The Connexion that it was too early to determine how the situation came to be and that EDF is still investigating.
EDF has said the bill was probably caused by human error when Ms Gomez’s electricity meter was read, and that it will reevaluate the correct amount.
It also said that as an ‘exceptional commercial gesture’ her monthly bill of €2,566 does not need to be paid in one go and has apologised to her directly for the lacklustre customer service.
EDF said that the power cut was a coincidence due to a faulty fuse, adding that it no longer cuts off homes for missed payments.
“I’m suing, it is mostly for the fridge,” she said, “but also for my mother’s mental well-being, because this whole ordeal has been very damaging for her health.”