Thousands of people have viewed and downloaded the meeting notice, nearly 500 people have "liked" and shared the notice on Facebook, numerous organizations and local governments have disseminated the meeting notice to thousands more, and meeting notice fliers are popping up all over the tri-state! And, something truly amazing (but completely expected) is happening -- people from diverse backgrounds are coming together to talk about electricity issues, volunteer their time, and to speak with one voice!
We heard many horror stories last week while out and about spreading the word. We have made many more connections through emails, social media, phone calls and comments on this blog. Particularly tragic was the story of a customer relying on a ventilator who was told to pay up on the more than $1000 monthly bill his family received, or Potomac Edison would shut off his service. Meanwhile, Potomac Edison's parent company is proposing to compensate its CEO at a rate of more than $23M per year. What's wrong with this picture?
The investigation of Potomac Edison's billing and meter reading practices in Maryland begins today. The "legal housekeeping" described by Potomac Edison spokesman Todd Meyers in the article is actually the company's effort to prohibit participation in the case by the individual customers who originally brought the complaint last year. Potomac Edison would much rather deal directly with state agencies and not have to dirty its hands consorting with the hoi polloi.
Meyers said that most of the company’s past problems with the meter readers are “in the rearview mirror.”
“We look forward to going to the hearing and giving our side of the story,” Meyers said. “We’re prepared to go there and cooperate with the PSC, and I think we have a good story to tell.”
We'd also like to hear Potomac Edison's side of the story about its proposal to purchase a 40-year old power generator from one of its affiliates at an inflated price that will translate into another 6% rate hike. We will be presenting a brief overview of the issue and asking the meeting participants to let the PSC know what they think about the proposal.
Potomac Edison continues to make the same old excuses and insist that the problems have been fixed, but the community says that's just not true.
Please join us this Wednesday night, May 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Wright Denny Intermediate school in Charles Town. Doors open at 6:30 and we will have information stations and handouts available. We ask that attendees bring along a copy of their most recent Potomac Edison bill for reference in filling out our survey about billing issues. Data collected will be used to develop statistics for use in illustrating the widespread nature of the problem for the Public Service Commission. We hope you will attend and add your voice to our call for the WV PSC to open its own investigation of Potomac Edison's practices. We the people will not be denied!
We have invited your elected officials, both state and local, as well as representatives of the PSC, the Consumer Advocate, and Potomac Edison, to come and listen to your concerns and demonstrate that they actually care about you and are not merely providing lip service while posturing for the press.
Electric utilities continually play a divide and conquer game with their customers. The company prefers to deal with each customer individually, where the customer may be at a disadvantage due to lack of knowledge about electric rates and tariffs and a feeling of isolation.
"We take our billing process very seriously," said Gilliam. "It's also personal and private. The conversation is between a customer service rep and the customer."