Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
UTILITY COMPANES USE ABUSIVE PRACTICES: Rolling Due Dates used by Utility Companies are Adverse to Low Income Families.
Submitted by ANGELnWard14 on Fri, 04/12/2013 - 14:02.
Dear Dominion East Ohio Gas and First Energy; Please quit your policy of rolling due dates. You have the corporate capacity to amend the policy that creates unstable due dates for your bills. You also have the power to make a due date adjustment to all customers with particular attention on people on limited incomes like Social Security. Most of these recipients pay their bills when their checks come in. In accordance with this-your rolling due dates make it a tag team game with paying your bills and sometimes requires multiple payments monthly for those on limited incomes and who also receive PIPP PLus programs. This is deceptive and disingenuous to the customers and defeats the purposes of the programs which is to stabilize those customers on low income. How difficult would it be to make consistent due dates for those people who ask for it? Credit card companies do it all the time. You provide unconventional credit via your utility resources and monthly billing for usage. Please amend your corporate policies to make stable due date policies which would make it easier for clients to send you monthly recurring payments from their bank accounts without you always changing the due dates. The wonderful low income programs including PIPP Plus which were established to assist low income utility customers to stabilize their arrears plus their current bills has been an amazing program that brought hope to recover to the table. However; the countless families on limited and assisted incomes are being met with another deceptive practice that puts them into a trick bag; many times resulting in losing credits for payments that may have been set up on auto pay from their bank to the utility company because the utility companies are constantly changing the due dates to the degree of sometimes having two bills due in one month (Like November 2012 by Dominion East Ohio Gas). Utility bill due date changes are a gray matter area which requires attention by legislators; lobbying persons, and directors of HEAP, Departments of Development, and our Government leadership at large need to realize that this is absolutely unfair debt collection practices. I do not know a bill under the sun besides the local utility companies that is allowed to get away with this type of behavior on consumers. Someone needs to protect the interests of the public at large from such deceptive practices. Utility companies make money off of late fees, property tax abatements, energy grants and subsidies offered for the heap programs along with the payments of countless customers regularly. They also offer community giving opportunities for local projects.4 I filed a complaint with PUCO about this subject matter only to have the condescending public servants reviewing this claim to insult me with their contemptuous attitudes about paying the bills on time and so forth like "a single head of household PUCO worker telling me how she wished she qualified for these programs..." Disabled, low income customers are told to run around getting money orders and sending them to the utility company when the bill comes in....as paying once a month when customers get their social security income is UNACCEPTABLE. The payments cannot be received early or they are credited to the past bill. They cannot get ahead to make their payments land in a period that will make them be credited accurately by simply paying them at the beginning of the month. So, they must watch for the bill, check the due dates, make sure their payments fall before that due date but after the billing date to be accurately credited allowing their PIPP Plus credits to kick in. Several months a year---people who pay at the beginning of the month are jammed with losing credits because of the change in billing cycles. When the payments were initially set up and the utility company was notified that auto payments from a bank account to them were established to prevent any further billing problems; no one said that's not going to be acceptable. They were okay with it. They didn't say-..."Hey the billing dates change every month...." No where on any of the utility companies websites, PIPP Plus or other places does it say anything under the sun about ROLLING DUE DATES..." But now that I have been scolded, treated like an idiot by a wonderful middle class government employee who resents people like us from ascertaining these programs....and who wanted to verbally notify me of their position on matters and when I asked them to put into writing their verbal notification--they were like "WHY?" So I said "because I want to lobby the higher echelons to be aware of how this game is adverse to the low income citizens"...and she notified me ... "WELL THEY ALL KNOW." Okay...well, change doesn't happen if we all eat the "SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND EAT YOUR MEDICINE" mentality.... So, let's get real about this situation and promote CHANGE so that people who are less than capable as myself as to protect their very own interests because they cannot handle indignant governmental employees that treat them with such piss off and disdain that it's unacceptable---can have some relief!!! She was so frustrated that I requested a written follow up with this claim. She then said she'd call the utility companies to have them write me the letters. Smiles. Interesting how public servants take everything so very personally and want to shove their emotions down other people's throats.... middle class bullshit. If you don't like the programs; then lobby the government--not the needy who receive the programs. I might also add that public servants are getting more gravy benefits to deal with the little people than they often seem to realize....don't they think that some people who get social security are disabled or retired? Do those people actually deserve the attitude? SMH. I believe that the power to change this unethical practice is in the hands of our leadership and the citizens need to start looking at the way their bills are being toyed with to their disadvantage. May all the best be with everyone. Some research is below.... Have a great day! By the way.... Rip Off Reports has complaints about this occurring too. Watch out for the late fees and so much more that go with this game by the utility companies. "Corporate welfare describes financial or other form of government assistance to a corporation provided free or at a below-market rate. Unlike social welfare, it is rarely need-based. Much of U.S. corporate-welfare policy is embedded in the tax code, which supports certain corporate actions over others through tax expenditures, deductions and credits. Unlike budget items, tax expenditures are not approved each year but continue until Congress votes to end them. The largest corporate-welfare payments go to the wealthiest corporations. These corporations are often among the biggest campaign donors to candidates of both major political parties. Corporations easily outspend critics in media and lobbying to convince Congress that programs they support have public benefit. While some argue that public benefits justify corporate subsidies, questions arise: •Do we as a society want to devote significant public resources and revenues to the welfare of large U.S. and foreign corporations? •What alternative uses of public resources should be considered? •Why do politicians grant massive subsidies to Canadian mining companies and other foreign corporations doing business in the United States even as they enact anti-immigrant laws? •What kinds of corporate behavior do subsidies encourage? •What long-term consequences and costs does each corporate- welfare payment have? Answering these questions means looking at specific subsidies to specific corporations. For example, oil corporations argue that drilling on Alaska's public land will lower oil costs to consumers so the government should allow them access to drill. But public subsidies for drilling oil discourage businesses engaged in developing renewable energy sources."1 1. Corporate Welfare: http://gbgm-umc.org/Response/articles/corporate_welfare.htmlOHIO HEAP: (A Federally Subsidized Program) http://development.ohio.gov/is/is_heap.htm 2. First Energy wins $57.4million in grants http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9G3V4HO1.htm 3. Energy Tax Incentives http://energy.gov/savings 4. First Energy Foundation: https://www.firstenergycorp.com/content/fecorp/community/firstenergy_fou... 5. Dominion Foundation: https://www.dom.com/about/community/charitable-giving-and-the-dominion-f... OHIO HEAP PIPP PROGRAM: http://development.ohio.gov/is/is_pipp.htm PUCO: http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/ National Association of Utility Regulators: http://www.naruc.org/ Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Public Utilities Commission: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_utilities_commission Truth in Lending Act FTC Act Equal Credit Opportunity Act Fair Credit Billing Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Credit_Billing_Act Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_and_Accurate_Credit_Transactions_Act PIPP Rules http://development.ohio.gov/files/is/Final%20Electric%20PIPP%20Plus%20Fi... PIPP PLUS RULES: 2009 http://development.ohio.gov/files/is/FinalElectricPIPPPlusRulesFormatted... OHIO CSBG STATE PLAN (KASICH) http://development.ohio.gov/files/reports/Ohio_CSBG_State_Plan.pdf Dominion PIPP PLUS Details https://www.dom.com/dominion-east-ohio/customer-service/your-bill/energy... https://www.dom.com/dominion-east-ohio/customer-service/your-bill/pdf/ba... RIPOFF REPORT ABOUT UTILITY COMPANY CHANGING DUE DATES: http://www.ripoffreport.com/electrical-services/municipal-utilities/muni... OAG Consumer Law:http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/consumerlaws ORC 1345 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1345