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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington veteran feels cheated by his power company.

Duke Energy’s website says they charge $17 to move service from one house to the next, but Michael Love does not understand why the company wants to charge him $217.

Love, a disabled Army veteran, says he had paid his Duke Energy Progress bills on time for more than two years. That is why he was surprised when he got a shut-off notice.

While trying to help a friend out with their bills, Love accidentally sent his own payment to the wrong account number. He quickly got on the phone with the power company and his bank and fixed the problem.

“You know, I screwed up,” Love said. “It’s my fault. I acknowledged that.”

But now after being two weeks late last month with his bill while recovering from surgery, Love says Duke wants to charge him a $200 deposit before he can move his service to a new apartment.

“I can understand if I’m not paying my bills,” he said. “I pay my bills.”

We reached out to Duke Energy to find out what their policy is. A spokesperson responded with a statement.

“Utilities are allowed to secure deposits from new customers who are not in good credit standing and established customers,” the statement read in part. “All deposits are returned with interest once satisfactory credit is established – which is no more than two late payments in a 12-month period.”

But even if they count the misdirected payment in June as late, Love meets the requirement.

In the end, he says it is not about the money.

“It’s principle,” Love said. “If you’re whacking me, how many other people are you out there doing, that are afraid?”

Duke Energy says deposits are designed to avoid some customers carrying the cost of others’ unpaid bills.

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