Consumers beware: First Energy and energy efficiency

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010


Did you see the article, “Customers take dim view of light bulb program,” in the Friday, Oct. 9 Sandusky Register?

text-autospace:none">It reported that unsuspecting customers were to be sent energy saving light bulbs and would then be charged .60 cents a month for two years to make up for the financial loss in electric First Energy didn’t sell.

text-autospace:none">Fortunately for we consumers, dissatisfied customers complained to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.  Chairman of the PUCO is reported to have said that the distribution of the light bulbs was approved, but not the fee added to the customers’ bills.  I wonder what this line item would have been labeled on my electric bill — “Conservation fee,” “Protecting Our Profits Fee,” or “Because I Can Fee.”

text-autospace:none">If you aren’t infuriated by this attempt of exploiting a customer’s trust in their electric company – you should be.  One thing it does do is prove that we can’t afford to be ignorant on how we are billed for electricity (or natural gas for that matter).  Electric is crucial to our very existence.

I realize it’s a royal pain in the neck to figure out how to interpret your electric bill, but consumer ignorance and apathy produces greedy behavior like the type described above.  Again, I urge you to come to our public forum, “How to Interpret Your Electric Bill,” from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 16 in the Erie County Office Building, third floor.

Jim Williams, a senior research analyst for the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (the State agency that advocates for residential consumers like you and me) will be coming to Sandusky to keep us from paying our Ohio Edison bill based on ignorance.  (What you don’t know can hurt you.)  An audience size of 25 or more is required to justify Jim’s travel from Columbus to Sandusky.  Senior citizens who would like to attend should call Serving Our Seniors at 419-624-1856 or send your RSVP or go to our text-decoration:none;text-underline:none">Web page and click on the EVENTS, then click on Public Forums & Workshops. 



                           When I first heard about this underhanded , sneaky scheme to squeeze more money from unsuspecting consumers by  a big utility company I just shook my head . To spin the energy conservation movement in a way to charge us more for energy we didn't use ? You have got to be kidding !!! This was clearly an attempt to gouge the customer , and NOT a misguided - good intension . I feel like someone just tried to pick pocket me . Shouldn't utilities be held accountable for these kind of shady practices ? I would like to see this looked into more closely to see just how they try to wiggle their way out of this .