Restaurant unknowingly pays gas bill of nearby business

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A local restaurant owner had no idea why her gas bill was so high — until she found out she had been unknowingly paying for the business next door.

Sylvia Moubayed, owner of Cav Restaurant, says her gas bills were out of control for years.

After finally tracing the meter lines at her establishment, she realized she was also paying for another business — whose gas was running through her restaurant’s lines.

“All I know is I was paying for three gas meters, and I know it wasn’t possible,” she said.

When the restaurant refused to pay the bill for the incorrect meter, National Grid sent their account to collections.

“Every time I called them they said ‘we’ll shut your gas off.’ How can I be without gas in a restaurant like Cav? Everything is run by gas,” she explained

National Grid did eventually agree to refund Sylvia for the one of the incorrect meters, but Sylvia said she had been paying for two.

Frustrated that the utility company wasn’t moving fast enough, Sylvia decided to contact Call 12 For Action.

“Your reputation for protecting the little guy. That’s why I came to you,” she told Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan.

Call 12 For Action contacted National Grid, who later said in a statement:

After an extensive review of customer billing and payment records going back to a period prior to National Grid’s purchase of the New England Gas Company, it was determined that the customer had been improperly billed for an extended period of time.

Recently, Cav received a $16,000 refund from National Grid. All of the meters have since been corrected.

According to National Grid, the process took so long because the company had difficulty tracking down old billing records that were recorded in a separate accounting system.

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