A customer of Eversource contacted us today with this story, which we validated with Eversource customer support. Apparently, a woman with COPD was in a home when Eversource shut off the electricity during the day, stopping her machine. Eversource’s service technician neither knocked nor announced his presence and made a quick exit, because by the time she was able to get to the door, which is a slow process, but not more than several minutes, he was driving away.
An immediate call to Eversource resulted in the full payment of the amount due. Eversource Gas had already been paid in full, so the company was specifically choosing to attack the home based on its electrical needs without determining if the safety of anyone in the home would be endangered. Turning off the gas in the summer time is rather annoying, but it is not life threatening. Turning off electricity is practically an act of terrorism on an older person with a serious pulmonary disease.
Paid early in the day, Eversource did not return to turn back on the electricity. Witnessing the process the following day, it took the tech two minutes, and they charge $15. When it began to get dark, and with the woman having considerable trouble breathing, her son in law called Eversource and was told that all the technicians had gone home for the day and it would remain dark for the night. They had been paid over the prior week, $600 in electric and $200 in gas payments, but they would not send out someone to turn on the electricity. The owner asked if he could do it himself, and was threatened that legal action would be taken if he did.
When the patron asked what they should do, the woman suggested to use the Massachusetts Health Insurance system to take her to the emergency room for the night. Honestly! We verified this was the advice of the customer service agents at Eversource. They stated that at 6PM, technicians are not available under any circumstances, not even for a two minute service, and that if someone had a medical problem that required electricity that person should go to the hospital!
When we heard this, we were absolutely shocked and felt we should notify readers that Eversource is a monopoly granted by the state with certain responsibilities to the public. After November 14, they cannot shut off anyone’s service if it would damage the home or endanger anyone. The date that ends is unclear at this time, but the idea is to prevent these people from randomly destroying people’s plumbing or freezing them to death, and they will do it for $15.
Eversource is operating as a very sick entity bent on damaging people’s health to make a point, pay your bill now or else. Each time they take an act like this, if someone is hurt or requires medical treatment, that is likely to cost the state heavily, not Eversource.
Electricity is not like cable or cell phone service, it is a staple required every day. Certainly, emergencies such as hurricanes or storms that cause power outages must be addressed as emergencies, but for Eversource to fabricate family health emergencies over $15 and two minutes time is spiteful, draconian and demands a response from government to stop such actions from hurting others.
There are systems Eversource employs to notify them of hardships, illnesses, and other issues to allow them to work with you to resolve a problem. But that is a long term solution, and it does not address someone like a grandmother that is visiting a home and is left with no oxygen and is told to go to an Emergency Room to breathe because a technician is not available for a two minute job.
The worst fact of all, and we have verified this complaint across numerous customers, is that those technicians tasked with shutting off the electricity often do not provide any notice to the home, as was the case in this instance.
If they knock and make a reasonable effort to ensure no one is present, and they just shut off the electricity and run, they are endangering everyone in that home. It should be considered a criminal act. If the party cannot immediately answer, it appears that Eversource could wait a day or so and place a warning on the door or try back another time. One week is not going to kill the poor company bathing in its cash.
So, at some point, should Eversource be allowed to shut off electrical services to any home at any time without notifying the residents in person? No, they should not. They have a privilege being a monopoly. Once they actually speak to someone, that is fine, get the denial of payment and shut off the service, but not until. In no way should a tech be allowed to shut off a service without notification.
Mail notifications are sent according to Eversource providing adequate time, but mail is not always received, can to to PO Boxes can be skipped over, etc. Sure, it is the responsibility of everyone to pay their bills, but do we impose the potential penalty of death upon those who fail to respond to Eversource on time?
Eversource knows their techs are irresponsible and often do not notify the occupants before a shut-off. They do not have any requirement they do so. And they pretty much ensure the person will wait a day to get their petty point across about paying the bill.
They are a disgraceful company and they are also self-serving liars to the public. Their customer support is trained to be downright mean and threatening to their own customers.
As a protest, it is suggested that no one pay their bills to Eversource for the months during which they cannot shut off your service. Save the money to pay them at the end, and do not steal from them, just make them wait. After all, if they need the money, they can go to a bank. Several days before the cut off date, pay them in full for the several months of winter.
A broad protest of this kind will hit them where it hurts, and perhaps wake them up to the reality that life is more important than $15. Writing your congressmen and representatives about this issue is also critical. Monopolies actually lobby to be able to hurt you. If you don’t fight them, they simply revel in it.