Thursday, October 01, 2009

Non-shock of the year: National Grid gouges customers

The Post-Star has an article on how the crooks at National Grid are gouging customers. The global conglomerate that is the region's monopoly electricity deliverer is jacking up delivery charges to compensate for falling electric and natural gas prices.

National Grid regularly sends out informational literature to customers encourage them to cut costs by taking energy saving measures. That meant they were using less energy and providing less revenue to the utility. National Grid decided to jack up the delivery part of their bill to compensate. After spending time and money to take those energy saving measures, they see no benefit in their electric bill.

In other words, the utility is punishing customers for following their advice!

A Moreau resident's bill showed her family of four had used $177.68 worth of natural gas and electricity in the preceding month, but the "delivery charges" for those commodities totaled $303.97.

Delivery of her power cost 71 percent more than the actual power. For that markup, the bill should come in a gold plated envelope.

My own most recent bill was even worse: delivery charges were MORE THAN DOUBLE the cost of the actual electricity delivered! Imagine buying a $300 stove from Sears and having them charge $700 to deliver it.

Maybe National Grid has to gouge customers to pay for their worthless, incompetent customer service or for the power going out every time there's a decent rain or snow storm (which never happens in upstate New York).

I will post my own National Grid horror story here at a later time, after I compose the letter to the state Public Service Commission and Attorney General's office.

In the mid-1990s, some officials in the city of Glens Falls pushed for the creation of a municipal power company, like the one run by the similarly-sized town of Massena, NY. Not surprisingly, Niagara Mohawk (which was bought by National Grid) saw a threat to their lucrative business and waged a massively expensive and somewhat deceptive PR campaign against the proposal.

Despite the cost, the PR campaign was a good investment... for them at least. The public utility was voted down in a referendum and they were free to continue gouging customers... and municipalities too.

No comments: