Exasperated New York Woman Keeps Getting Power Bills For a Telephone Pole Near Her Home

March 14, 2019 Updated: March 14, 2019

An elderly New York woman said she keeps receiving huge power bills addressed to a telephone pole in front of her house.

Maria Sprizzo, 83, of Staten Island, told the Staten Island Advance on Monday, March 11, that she began receiving Con Edison bills for thousands of dollars in early 2018—and they just keep on coming.

“I opened this bill, over $5,000 in billing, and I said ‘Oh my God!” Sprizzo told WABC.

Sprizzo told the Staten Island Advance she received the first bill about a year and a half ago.

“I’m reading this thing, and it says that I owe them $2,000,” the elderly woman said. “I called (the utility company) to no avail. Then I read it carefully and I noticed that the letter was addressed to the pole—a wooden pole in front of my house. You don’t write to a pole, if you’re normal.”

She said she continues to receive bills on a near-monthly basis as well as termination notices.

“I kept protesting and calling up, and none of them helped,” she said. “I’m 83 years old. Why are they putting me through this? I’m a nice woman.”

“One showed my name and my address. The other one just had the address,” Sprizzo told WABC.

She said she sent the bill back to Con Edison, explaining the apparent absurdity of the situation.

“You are writing to a wooden pole and I sent it back to them,” Sprizzo said.

Only on Staten Island: This 83-year-old woman is getting bills addressed to the wooden pole outside her Great Kills home. Yes, the pole.

Staten Island Advance 发布于 2019年3月12日周二

She said the bills feature the words “Charter Communications,” along with her exact street address followed by the word “pole.” These come in addition to her actual monthly bills, which are addressed to her, personally.

“I did what I could, and I called and I tried and their answer was just throw them out if you don’t want them,” Sprizzo said.

Con Edison spokesman Allan Drury told the Staten Island Advance that it’s company policy to send the bills and notices to the telephone pole. He added Charter Communications, the company behind in payments, is also receiving bills and notices to a post office box.

He said Sprizzo is not expected to pay the bills and there was never any risk of her service getting shut off.

The octogenarian just wants the letters to stop.

“That mail comes into my box every month,” Sprizzo told WABC. “What they’re doing is completely wrong.”

Charity Buys and Erases Past-Due Medical Debt

RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit, uses money from donors to eliminate crushing medical debt that threatens the financial well-being of hundreds of thousands of American families.

According to a recent report, the charity said it has erased $475 million in debt for more than 250,000 people since it was founded four years ago.

“It’s a random act of kindness, a no-strings-attached gift,” said Craig Antico, RIP’s co-founder and CEO.

Philip Sasser of Milton, Florida, was more than pleasantly surprised when instead of another past-due medical bill, the envelope he received in the mail contained a notice that his debt had been cleared.

“I opened it, and it said these bills had been paid off,” said Sasser, according to The Associated Press. “I didn’t understand. It was out of the blue.”

Antico and RIP co-founder Jerry Ashton spent decades as executives in the debt-resolution business. Now, they do the same thing debt collectors do—buy portfolios of past-due bills for pennies on the dollar. But instead of hounding people for payment, they send letters announcing the debt is now zero. Forgiven debts have ranged from $100 to more than $250,000, Antico said.

A $10 donation can buy—and eliminate—$1,000 in long-delinquent debt.

More than 43 million Americans have about $75 billion in past-due medical debt on their credit reports, according to “End Medical Debt,” a book co-authored by Antico, Ashton, and Robert Goff.

They estimate a total of $1 trillion in reported and unreported, unpaid medical debt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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