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ST. CHARLES, Mo. - It was an oversight that lasted more than a decade, now a St. Charles woman is paying for a billing mistake she didn't make.

Nancy Pingel thought she was paying her electric bill for the past 11 years. It turns out she was paying her neighbor's, and vise versa. And even though Ameren admits to the switch-up, Pingel's the one who has to pay up.

"I thought that's crazy," said Pingel.

Ameren power Pingel used in her house was billed to her neighbor and she got the neighbor's bill. The houses are connected and the meters sit together.

The meter-mix up started in April, 2003 but Ameren apparently only figured it out a few months ago.

"It kind of caught me off guard," Pingel said of a letter she got from Ameren.

It states Pingel, who's retired and living on social security, uses more electricity than her neighbor and owes $555 for the last year.

"I said well, what do you want me to do, not take one of my prescription medications for a couple of months or maybe go without eating a couple of meals a week," she said.

Ameren wouldn't comment on Pingel's predicament, citing confidentiality. Pingel is making payments.

"They need to eat this because this is their problem, not mine. They made the mistake, I didn't," she said.

Pingel doesn't have to pay for all eleven years. State regulations limit it to just one. The other neighbor who overpaid is limited to five years worth of money back.

The Public Service Commission says check your bill every month and compare the numbers to your meter to make sure they add up.

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