Seattle man's battle over light bill

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by By / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on October 20, 2008 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 23 at 8:40 AM

Video: Seattle man's battle over light bill

All Ethan Easterbrook wanted was his power back on, but why was he in the dark so long for a bill he was never responsible for?

"I was probably really angry for the first three weeks and then I just kind of got used to it, it was like urban camping," he said.

No lights, no power, no cold food in the fridge. That's how Ethan Easterbrook describes the past few months at his Capitol Hill apartment.

"I was just kind of living in it, I didn't have much of a choice," he said.

But the months long outage wasn't his fault. The last person who had Ethan's apartment left City Light with a nearly $900 bill.

The property manager failed to let the utility know within the required 10 days that Ethan had moved in and should have a clear account.

"I talked to City Light. I talked to my landlord. I didn't get too far with each, both said it was the other persons problem," he said.

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While neither side was willing to budge, and Ethan was stuck in the middle, he was offered a life-line from his property manager to get by, sort of.

"I was pulling from an extension cord, that was the way I was getting my power," he said.

Wanting to come out of the darkness, Ethan contacted us and we asked city light to research the issue.

Afterwards they determined Ethan is in good standing. The lights can come on, and according to city code, the landlord is responsible for the bill since they didn't report the tenant within 10 days.

"I guess I'm kind of laughing now because it just seems surreal. Just to turn the lights on one day and one day have them not turn on at all," said Ethan.

Starting next month, if you open a utility account, be prepared to show id because of a new federal law called "Red Flag." It's supposed to help curb ID theft, as well as keep these types of billing issues straight.

If you have a consumer concern, call Jesse Jones toll-free at 877-51-JESSE or e-mail him at .

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