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Poll: Should Utility Companies Rebate Customers for Power Outages?

A Massachusetts legislator wants customers to get paid when they don't have power.

A Massachusetts legislator is urging passage of a new law that would force utility companies to rebate customers when there are extended outages.

State Rep. Daniel Winslow (R-Norfolk, MA) has asked the Massachusetts House Rules Committee to take action on a power outage rebate bill. According to a release from Winslow's office reported on Wrentham Patch, the bill would require rebates to customers who go without power for more than eight hours. The rebate would be for two days of their average bill for each day the customer is without power.

The move is prompted by the Halloween weekend storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers throughout Massachusetts, just two months after Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Winslow is hoping to spur preventative maintenance like tree removal and trimming. He claims the efforts by utility companies have been inadequate.

Herr Stig November 04, 2011 at 12:07 PM
I haven't lost sight of the tree trimming that the PRIOR OWNER did and these guys don't. BTW there is a TAX advantage to "fixing it after" as opposed to preventive work. During the "tropical storm" I heard linemen telling headquarters power was out at places they had reported as problem areas a YEAR ago. It's not the line crews, it's the BEAN counters.
Herr Stig November 04, 2011 at 12:09 PM
BTW what PR firm do YOU work for?
Mike Burt November 04, 2011 at 04:42 PM
They are not charging us for power they did not provide already. While I would love money back, it seems like what is being requested is a double hit to the electric company which I cannot see ever really standing up legally. That said, what should be done is if the power is out for more that an agreed to amount of time, each hour a rebate be granted to subscribers for lose of food and inconvenience. During the hurricane a couple of months ago, I lost a good amount of food due to my power being out for days.
trudy1 November 05, 2011 at 12:08 AM
So, do a rebate but for the amount of time power was down, not for double it.
FormerEGResident November 09, 2011 at 06:19 PM
In general, in the case of an "act of God" that's out of the power company's control - and given the fact that the meter is not running when the power is out - one would say an emphatic "no" - that the power company need not pay customers when they're not using or being charged for electricity. That being said, part of what our utility bills pay for is to have line workers available when the power goes out. In CT, CT Light & Power is under fire because since they had not yet paid line workers who worked nearly non-stop following Hurricane Irene in August, those out of state line workers were not inclined to come back to CT following the Halloween Storm. That's why people in central and Western CT have been without power for more than a week and a half in some cases. So if lengthy and onerous outages are a result of corporate incompetence, I have no problem seeing them assessed a penalty - but I do keep in mind that those penalties all eventually get passed along to the consumers. Perhaps rather than a rebate to consumers they should simply cut the grid company CEO's salary when power outages are the result of power company incompetence.

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