Whack electric bill

Whack electric bill

I highly suspect someone was stealing my electricity for a while, I use about 75 kwhs of electricity per month in the winter (roughly $10), but this past month I got a bill for $52.50, saying that I used 342 kwhs. I was out of town for 28 out of the 34 days of the billing cycle, and I unplugged everything except for the fridge, tv, satellite, and dvd recorder. The refrigerator was closed when I got back, nothing seemed strange to me. Furthermore, the 10 days between the bill ending date and when I first checked my meter, a lot more electricity was used. I figure I'll owe about $180 (total) more than what I usually pay. My meter has been back to normal since I first started checking it (2-3 kwhs a day). My suspicion is that someone was stealing my electricity when I was out of town and continued to use it until a few days after I got back. However, there's nothing attached to the meter now so I can't prove anything. Is there another way to steal electricity besides attaching something to the meter? I remember back in November I kept hearing pounding and drilling noises at night, and I don't hear them anymore. I don't need details of stealing electricity, I just need to know if it's possible to steal it in ways other than attaching something to the meter. The utility company and electric company seem to think otherwise. I spoke to Reliant Energy 3 times about this, they were pretty useless. They eventually told me that if I suspected someone was stealing my electricity to "call the authorities", so I called the 911 non emergency line and they basically laughed in my face and then told me to call my utility company. They also pretty much laughed in my face and said that a $10 electric bill is "impossible" even though I've been getting low bills for a year now and I've known other people who have had similar bills. I requested that they check my meter to see if someone is stealing electricity but they said it can take 2 weeks. My bill is due tomorrow (with a 3 day grace period). I also requested a free meter test but they said it could take up to 45 days for it to be tested and they made it sound like meters hardly ever go faster than they should. I called my condo manager to see if they could come and see if everything was working properly but they said they don't do that. Plus, everything is reading ok now and I didn't change anything, so I doubt anything was wrong with my appliances. I don't want to pay this but I also don't want it affecting my credit and I certainly don't want my electricity to be shut off. Any advice would be appreciated. Every time I've called Reliant I've told them that I've been a customer for a year and my bill has never been anywhere near this high, and that I was out of the country for most of the billing cycle and could provide copies of my boarding passes.
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