'Power ransom': Man says he got an electric bill for a home he lived at 10 years ago

If he doesn't pay, the electric company will shut off the power at his current home next week.


A Florida man is kicking off the new year fighting a decade-old problem. He said he recently got a power bill for a different home he lived at 10 years ago.

And if he doesn’t pay, Florida Power and Light is shutting off the power at his current home next week.


“Who has an electric bill from 10 years ago?” Russ Perreault said.

He said the first time FPL notified him of the overdue payment was three months ago.

“Did I live there? Yeah. Did I pay my bills? Yes. Did I hear anything about this for 10 years? No,” he said.

Perreault said the first late notice he received in October demanded nearly $950.

“I was like, ‘What is this?’” he said. “I pay my bills.”

The most recent bill he received this week is the final notice or FPL is turning off his power next week. But Perreault said he is not paying. First, he said he disputes the charges. Second, he said he can’t pay the bill because he is at home on disability after a motorcycle crash.

“I live just making it at the end of the month and sometimes my dad has to help me,” he said.

Perreault lives with his 93-year-old father who he says has dementia and spends all day in his at-home hospital bed.

“I’m worried about my dad. He’s the one that is fragile,” he said. “If the power’s off, I’ll survive. He might not.”

Perreault said he always paid his power bills on time but only saves those records for one year.

“I feel like they’re holding the power ransom over me, and if you don’t pay, we’re going to shut you down. Whether you like it or not. Whether you’re disabled. Whether you’re on a fixed income. Whether you’ve got somebody you’re taking care of that’s disabled,” he said.

FPL did not weigh in on why Perreault is receiving this overdue bill now. Bianca Soriano, a spokesperson for FPL, said the company does not comment on customers' accounts due to privacy.

In a statement, she added: “The statute of limitations applies to filing a lawsuit in court but does not prohibit FPL or any company from collecting payments that are required for continued service.

There are many steps we take to help customers bring their account up to date including payment extensions and energy assistance through local support agencies. We have always been committed to helping customers and this case is no exception.”

FPL says they help customers through payment extensions and energy assistance with local support agencies.