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April 20, 2011

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Gas utility looks into big bills

SHANGHAI Gas Company authorities have refuted public doubts of overcharging yesterday but were investigating several cases where residents complained about sharp increases in their bills for the past two months.

A resident surnamed Luo, who lives on Taopu Road, Putuo District, complained on some popular Internet forums that her March bill was 150 yuan (US$22.95). Normally her gas bills are 30 yuan to 50 yuan per month.

Luo said she was stunned by the sharp increase and she couldn't figure out why the bill was so high because she and her husband only use gas for cooking and heating water.

Luo posted the bill on the forums of, and it immediately attracted attention from others who said they had similar increases in gas bills recently.

"There must be something wrong as I received a bill for 330 yuan for March, 220 yuan more than February's bill," said a 33-year-old resident surnamed Dai, who lives in Changning District.

Dai told Shanghai Daily that she had spent half of March on a business trip out of the city and her husband was the only one in the apartment using the gas.

Dai said she refused to pay the bill and called the gas company's hotline for an explanation, but she has yet to receive a response.

In February, many residents were shocked when they received huge electricity bills for the month of January.

"First I got a ridiculously high electricity bill, and now I've got a huge gas bill," Dai said.

Some people on the forum said they believed the new gas meters were more sensitive than old ones, which could explain the sudden increase in gas bills. They demanded the company send engineers to check the new meters.

In response, an official with the gas company, surnamed Tang, told Shanghai Daily they would investigate and figure out the reason for the big bills.

"There are many reasons, including inaccurate meters and mistakes by meter readers, that could generate a big bill," Tang said.

However, Tang said few people in the city had encountered the problem and that they hadn't received mass complaints about higher gas bills.

Tang said residents could call the gas hotline 962777 if they had any problems or questions.


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