Updated:BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —
A Brevard County woman is fighting Florida Power & Light after she got a $9,000 power bill.
The company says Nikita Greene tampered with the power meter at her home in Palm Bay.
She said she had to borrow $5,000 just to have the electricity turned back on and has to pay another $4,000 to keep it on.
The power company claims the seals inside her meter were broken and she is responsible. Greene said she never touched it.
She said a Florida Power & Light worker came to her home at the beginning of the month with a letter accusing her of installing an unauthorized meter on the side of her home and charging her more than $9,000.
"I've not been out there. I don't go out there. I'm afraid of snakes," Greene said.
FPL's own investigator estimated the possible amount of used electricity back to October 2009, when the company claims there was an obvious sustained drop in usage.
An FPL spokesperson said investigators take into account seasonal changes in temperature, but the company is forbidden from discussing private accounts, adding that their investigations are thorough.
"I've been paying my power bill faithfully every month. Never had a disconnection notice. Never asked for an extension," Greene said.
Last month, the power company billed her for using nearly 3,000 kilowatt hours in her small home -- that's nearly three times the national average -- and Greene paid the $300 bill.
"I got to do what I got to do to keep my power on for my family," she said.
Greene is contesting tampering charges to the state Public Service Commission but said the power company has acted like judge and jury and already handed down a guilty verdict and a stiff penalty.
FPL also billed Greene $716 for the cost of the investigation.
WFTV asked FPL if it would review the case, but the company has not yet responded.