Story by Antwan Harris
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Laura Osborne says the winter months weren't just brutally cold, they were also brutal on her pockets.

Her normal power bill for her garage is about $20, as it's just used for storage.

She got the shock of her life when the bills for December and January totaled more than $500 dollars.

Osborne said, "There is maybe the wrong meter being read. I believe since there are 6 meters, there is a mistake."

The meter to her garage has been replaced and checked by EPB. A spokesperson said their test shows the meter was over 100-percent accurate, meaning they could not find a problem with it.

EPB spokesperson Lacie newton said Osborne isn't alone.

"We are seeing more customers who have higher usage during the cold months and it is reflecting on their bills"

The problem is Osborne is on a fixed income and helps several families who can't pay their bills.

Osborne said, "They depend on us for food and shelter and electricity and there are seven people here on a fixed income."

The spike in the bill has put her in a tight spot.

She said she didn't have any power to the building in during the cold months.

EPB said they try to work with any customer having problems.

Newton said, "The sooner we know, the sooner we can get you help."

But Osborne says this hasn't been the case.

She says now she's forced to pay a bill that is somewhat of a mystery.

"This is mind boggling. This is totally mind boggling.>

Now she won't rest until this case is closed.

EPB said it's working to get Osborne on a payment plan and can do the same for any customer.

For a link to assistance programs visit or call 423-648-1EPB(1372)