NAPLES, Italy — Servicemembers who live off base in Italy could face sticker shock on their power bills if they still have an old electric meter.

Some troops have been hit with “catch-up bills” that have amounted to several thousand euros, prompting the housing office at Naval Support Activity Naples to urge residents to either bring their bills or meter readings to office personnel, or schedule for an actual reading to avoid surprises, officials said.

“If they read the meter and compare that with what’s on the bill, we can see if there are any discrepancies early,” said Ellen Spirito, the community housing director.

The problem steadily has decreased as ENEL, Italy’s power company, began about 18 months ago to replace old meters with new electronic ones directly linked to power company offices. The direct link lets officials get an accurate reading of power consumption, instead of an estimated one.

Many power meters in Italian homes are either inside the homes, garages or on private terraces, which, if residents aren’t home to let in the meter reader, go unread. Instead, the power company would issue bills based on estimated consumption rather than actual consumption.

Roughly 2,000 of the more than 6,000 Americans here, as military members, dependents, contractors or civilians, live on the economy — but it’s impossible for the housing office to know how many of those have the old meters, housing employee Tony Caliendo said.

Power consumption varies greatly between families, so it’s difficult to say what residents should be paying on their bills, which in Italy, come every two months, housing management specialist Giuliana Cotarella said. However, as a gauge, residents can use what previous renters were paying (if the housing office has a contract on the property), or better yet, have their meters read, she said.

Renters can call the support site housing office at DSN 629-4466, or the satellite office at the Capodichino base at: 626-4296.

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