We are supposed to be comforted by the assurance contained in the message in the fire-engine red banner emblazoned at the top of the bill that, despite your delinquency, “please note that due to COVID-19, shut-offs will not occur.” Yes. We are supposed to breathe a sigh of relief that, in this time of financial and health crisis, there is one less immediate worry to add to the list of concerns we and our families must face and attempt to mitigate. We are probably even meant to be grateful and include PSE&G on the sad short list of companies that understand our strife and are willing to assist in lessening our burden. But, if we opt to exhale (behind our masks, of course) and heap accolades at their feet, we will be quite misguided because, behind that bright red banner are actions so diabolical that they defy understanding, reasoning and sound ethics!
That banner is not off of an arbitrary bill, it is reflective of the bills I have been receiving from PSE&G for the past few months. And, it is not due to a cumulative pattern of delinquency on my part, but rather from an unethical practice from PSE&G that is leveled against commercial accounts. Let me elaborate so there is no confusion or murkiness…
My business – brand new construction – was opened in December 2019 and, like everyone else, I too was ordered closed due to the pandemic. The doors were shut on March 14th, 2020 and I did not reopen until July 1st, 2020 (and since that time, I am only open for business two days per week). Here are the bills I have received from PSE&G:
- March (February 14th-March 16th): $68.98
- April (March 17th-April 15th): $68.98
- May (April 16th-May 14th): $68.98
- June (May 15th-June 15th): 229.93
- July (June 16th-July 15th): $668.66
Naturally, I have called PSE&G many times to question/dispute these charges since receiving the June’s bill that reflected such a drastic increase (and in a time when the doors were still shut and I was absolutely not in the building). Naturally. Every representative I have spoken to (and there have been numerous), has informed me that due to the pandemic and their inability to read the meters, they have pulled their numbers from last year’s usage. When informed that I am brand new construction and thus this practice cannot be used as a viable option, the reasoning then changes to “all commercial accounts are charged a Summer surcharge.” Okay…
WHAT?!? First, even if I cannot cite this as being illegal, I most certainly can and will call it highly unethical! That’s one. And two, businesses were closed! We were closed! WHAT was I drawing from PSE&G that they need to level such a charge on me?!? You know what?! I am back to my other thought… HOW is this legal?! Something needs to be done about this! I was not in the damn building and now that I am two days per week, five hours per day, HOW can I possibly incur usage to correspond with these charges?! This is absolutely ridiculous! Why are commercial accounts being persecuted? Small businesses like mine have already suffered so much during this pandemic and most of us have gotten no help or relief from the Federal government and are struggling… I know I am. So this! This is pulling both sides of an already raw and infected wound wide open and applying salt and vinegar directly unto the nerve!!! This is unconscionable!!!! This must be resolved in my/our favor!
This is my first posting regarding this matter. I will continue posting, reposting and sending correspondences to anyone I can think of until it is addressed. I will be sending to the mayor and I will give him just a little bit to see what he does. I am mad. But more importantly, I am right.