Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Con Ed Monopoly in NYC Cripples Urban Professionals, Elderly, Everyone

When I first moved back to New York in August of 2011, I thought it was really cool that I could choose a "greener" way of receiving my energy.  The form to apply for energy service included various options that allowed me to reduce my carbon footprint and I was more than happy to choose service that included such an option.  Initially, it was much cheaper, too.  That is, until I received a bill in February of 2012 that said all those cheap charges I initially received had to be adjusted and that I would owe upwards of $700 those months.  What??  We barely use our lights and I don't have time to cook, I said when I called Con Ed.  At that point, they had adjusted even more and figured that I would owe another $500 or so.  Fuming, I demanded to understand what had happened and through lots of convoluted talk, I found out that our service had been changed without our knowledge.  When I changed our service back to a "greener" service, the charges were much cheaper...EXCEPT for the fact that Con Ed owns the infrastructure that delivers the service.  So I might be charged $9 for the gas I use, but over $30 for the DELIVERY of the gas.  A $100 electric bill might have a $200 delivery bill, for example.


The last bill I paid out to Con Ed, sent just days ago, was for $377.  I live in a very small two-bedroom apartment, mind you, and we never use much electricity and I maybe cook two to three times a week.  This morning, I received another bill from Con Ed for the same time period I just paid for, demanding another $150 or so.  I've paid for the same time periods about three times.  I've paid for the time period between August 2011 and December 2011 about five times.  There are always new adjustments they are finding.  In the last month, I've received about eight different bills with different amounts owed and different due dates all within a week or so of each other.  When I called Con Ed to ask for one simple bill a month, they said they could not do that.


I know this story sounds hard to believe, but what is even harder to believe is that I am not the only person this has happened to and NO ONE is doing anything about it.  If you look at the consumer complaints on this website, you will find many similar stories.
Rory of New York City writes, "As a non-US citizen, I wasn't really sure how much an electric bill should be and swallowed the $120/month average bill they were sending me. Bear in mind, I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, I have no TV, no aircon, no heaters and all of my light fixtures even have energy saving light bulbs! I try to be green.


Towards the end of last summer, this bill started rising to close to $200/month at which stage, I really started to question the numbers. My next door neighbor, with basically the same sized apartment told me that they pay around $50/month. When I was finally able to get a meter reading, Con Ed then sent me a new bill claiming that I owed them an extra $830! This would mean I have been using close to $200/month of electricity in my tiny apartment over 4 years."


Gozalo of Whitestone writes, "Con Edison is charging 150% more of the value of the gas and electricity provided in a continued scam that nobody controls. Our electricity supply of 360 KWh costs $23.72, total charges: $93.18. Our gas supply of 146 therms is $66.35, total charges: $230.44. Total supply cost is $90.07, total charges: $323.62. Who is controlling this scam?"
Erica of Dobbs Ferry writes, "For using $9 of electric, I'm being billed $43.65 for delivery charges. For using $55 worth of gas, I'm being billed $115.08 for delivery. Everyone keeps telling me they can charge what they want but there's no way this can be legal."
Katalina of Yonkers, after looking at her bills, realized she paid over $5,400 to ConEd in a year.  "An 82 year old that stays at home does not use so much gas or electricity," she writes...and I agree.
Earlier during the spring semester at the community college I teach at, a student brought up this issue during one of our headlines sessions.  Every Friday, the class would go over important headlines and this particular student brought up her work at the district office in Queens, in relation to headlines about our economy.  She shared that the district office where she works is currently putting together a class action suit against ConEd for exactly the issues described here.  She said that 80 year-old women were coming to her office with $400 bills for studio apartments.  I remember her saying, "What the heck can an 80 year-old woman be doing to rack up such a bill - it's impossible!"
I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection and I have reached out to my district's council person, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, but I am very doubtful that anything will happen. I truly believe that because Con Edison has been an unchecked monopoly for so long, there must be many powerful people who are benefiting from its monopoly status and who will allow it to remain one for as long as possible.  ConEd CEO Kevin Burke, for example, will want to make sure he continues making millions off of the disabled and elderly people he scams.  His buddy William G. Longhi, also a ConEd exec and millionaire, probably feels the same way.
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that this is another way folks are trying to drive the middle class out of New York, or another way of destroying the middle class of New York altogether.  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that ConEd is penalizing customers who are choosing greener energy by charging them exorbitant fees to deliver said green energy and, in turn, encouraging the destruction of the planet by doing so.
But I'm not.  I am a scholar and as such, I believe in the word, and the word today is: anti-trust.  ConEd is a monopoly and as such, it is fixing prices.  We have laws against that and I will do everything in my power to make sure those laws are upheld.  I just hope someone is with me.


**If you are with me, literally, and have a story of your own about ConEd's evil ways, please reach out to me here on my blog.  Please post your story and let me know if you are willing to be part of a class action suit and/or sign a petition to start an anti-trust investigation of ConEd.  I look forward to hearing from you!

21 comments:

Don said...

Grisel, Afternoon,

Yes.

A class action lawsuit against Consolidated Edison for being a monolopy is good.

Once, I receive the full information on the possible lawsuit, I will be able to determine if that particular lawsuit is what I want to be part of and associated with.

Again, Consolidated Edison needs and must be broken up. Or at least bring in several competitors.

Anonymous said...

Help-Help-Help!!
We are drowning in bills from ConEd. With their use of 'adjustments' .
After receiving outrageous bills in 2010,11, we fell behind in full payments. They started charging us interest which along with the adjustments is now 15K!
This is with us paying a good amount of money every month. I wont share all the details here as it would take all day to write, but we are looking to sew them. If anyone has contacts for that please em them to me.
suprinaotb@verizon.net
We have 2 accounts, 1 for our apt and 1 for the hallways. The hallways are 5 lights with Flour bulbs, yet we are charged 300-400 a month for these. We cant keep up.
Please if anyone has a good lawyer to help, or class action suit would be great. They have been allowed to become thieves.

Enrique E. Facundo said...

Hello. I recently switched to a green energy provider. My electric rates dropped, but my delivery charges spiked!

It is probably a coincidence, but I don't want to use Coned for delivery anymore yet it seems I have no options. :-(

I would be very interested in getting more info on this class action lawsuit and I might be interested in signing up so I'll be following your blog in hopes of any updates.

Keep up the great work!

Ricardo Ramirez said...

I spent the last hour on the phone with a ConEd rep and she couldn't even figure out the billing constantly getting the charges and payments mixed up with these "adjustments". If she can't get it right, how confident can we be in their billing. We really need to do this class action lawsuit.
I'll keep myself in the loop here. Thank you all for reassuring me that I'm not the only one who sees a serious problem here.

Dee said...

I too am furious at my ConEd bill especially with the delivery charges. I agree this monopoly has to be broken up!!!!

They are draining us down, it's not fair with the economy the way it is.

I would like to sign a petition or join in a massive class action lawsuit against them.

Anonymous said...

Coned recently shut off our electricity for non-payment. We pay an average of $300-400 a month in combined gas and electric, yet it is not enough. We applied for HEAP which is a low income program where the fed. government pays coned. We were due for a $425 payment from HEAP. A week before they received payment, coned thugs showed up at our house and demanded $425 or else. We have two babies and a 69 year old in the house. We had just made a $300 payment the week before. No matter. They shut off our electric, boiler doesn't work without electric, middle of the winter, etc. We had to scrounge $425 from nowhere to get our lights back on. This week they received the $425 from HEAP. Basically they are extorting low income and vulnerable people who can't pay what they demand and then getting the money from the federal government anyway. Meanwhile a family is without heat or electric and they get a total of $1200 in one month. CONED is an energy MAFIA plain and simple. Class action won't do much, we have to sacrifice and buy solar panels and batteries and be independent once and for all. Also convert to Passivhaus. Look it up, Germans don't pay for heat, they consider it a sin. Otherwise we will always be "pay today, owe tomorrow." Those who live in apartment buildings need to demand and lobby for solar panel installations on the roofs. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

I live in a building of 100 apts in Yonkers. I was curious about these delivery charges and wanted to know why all of the apts were being charged such high rates. There would only be one meter reader who would come out and read all the 100 meters for the building at one time. One meter reading, one location, not 100 different properties. Plus the buildings management co. Was being charged delivery charges for the common areas as well. We were all being charged for the same service. Talk about charging for the same service a 100 fold. what a racket. Our management co for the building disputed these duplicate charges and got us a credit. I'm not sure how they did it but my bill went back down. One location, one delivery charge. It's worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

I am starting a law firm in brooklyn. I literally have two computers and the lights as far as electricity needs. However, since the prior use of the space was a bodega, a butcher, and a restaurant, all with giant walk in freezers and fridges, the historical use for electricity is astronomical and ConEd is requiring a $2,300 deposit just to open the account!

Grisel said...

Hi everyone,

I know it has been a long time, but I've finally gotten ConEd to provide a sort of forum. The main objective of the meeting is to promote new installation of meters that ConEd doesn't have to come out to read (the reading is sent to their offices automatically), but it is open to the public and I'm sure you can ask any questions you like.

Here are the details:

Can Con Edison get in to read the meter? If not:

New York City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo
&
Con Edison invites you to:

What: Con Edison Presentation on automated meter-reading devices

Where: Lincoln Hospital – Conference Room 4
234 E 149th Street, Bronx, NY 10451

When: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Time: 6pm – 7:30pm


Con Edison customer outreach will provide a presentation on the new automated meter-reading devices. The automated meter-reading devices will provide remote meter-reading capabilities and are more economical than the traditional practice of having a meter reader visit your home. To learn more about the automated meter-reading devices please attend the upcoming Con Edison presentation.

Anonymous said...

My story is to long, but since I bought a one family house in Queens my Con Ed bills have rich up to $3000 dollars, with Con Ed disconnecting service three times in the past.I have two small children which they do not give a dam....and I have charge couple of times service providers, just to land back in high charges since Con Ed over charges for the delivery of gas and electricity.
Please tell me where do I signed to stop this monopoly...

power said...

Why doesn't everyone just stop paying there bill at the same time?
Then they would be forced to comment, would be a huge news story and we would have control.
Hit them in they're accounts.

Harvey Postmaster said...

I agree with any form of proactive stance against the electricity mafia of ny. I also strongly agree with stopping all payments and find/ force another energy source to step in ..like the German one, Passivhaus.

The Germans don't fear NY organized crime. Coned makes me so sick that I am affiliating all of NYC with them .. they are at least very similar to the MTA.

Since I'm a landlord, the meter that provides main hallway, outside porch, and basement is at a whole different cost range ... why?
All my tenants pay their own electric, and I still have an avg energy cost of $340/ month and that went up to $700 january 2014 .. the obvious answer is they are a thug run company who sits with all the bankers in hidden rooms sucking their own neighbors dry. When we fall to another nation, those walls will mean nothing. You can't hide from a ruthless enemy militia. So If you are parasitically weakening your fellow comrades, don't be surprised when they fail to defend you or anything for that matter.

Do you know that I am also being charged an extra $100 a month because another affiliate of coned can't get in to see and remove the meter? Coned has no issue reading and accessing the meter .. have you ever heard of such a high erroneous charge for basically not being able to communicate with me ... free energy is on verge of discovery .. solar panels have a ridiculous installment cost

Divine said...

Has there been any further discussion of a class action law suit against Con Edison with an intended result of having their monopoly broken?

Unknown said...

If we gather together at least two or three and file a disability discrimination suit for exploiting the disabled and elderly, then, perhaps these monopoly giants who live comfortably while people in our community sleep less nights, will cease overcharging and scamming. I do hope this monopoly falls and he is exploited for illegal activities. I hope he rots in jail for a long time. I am sitting here fighting with Con Edison for an error that is not my own and my mother's account which we paid in full. I am so frustrated right now that I want to send the person to hell on a speed train of gasoline...so angered right now. I am also aware that the meter is for an apartment that is non-existent and my mother is paying a bill for energy and gas regardless if it is winter for over 100.00.. WE LIVE N DARKNESS TO KEEP THE BILL AT THIS AMOUNT OR LOWER. I am fed up with CON EDISON. I am filing suit and will commence to seek an attorney. This is exploitation of customers especially disabled and the elderly.

Unknown said...

I am seeking an attorney and if any is willing to hear my case, then please contact me. Thank you.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes I am with you. What is the next step?

Mrs. Jimenez said...

Still searching

Anonymous said...

what's happening with this class action lawsuit. ConEd is seriously overcharging me - delivery fees are tripling my bills, plus I have solar panels! Please HELP and let's do this class action lawsuit!

Lee said...

My use of electricity: $23.08. My total with delivery and $3.06 tax: $79.56. Delivery fees triple my bill.
My gas usage: $56.67. with delivery: my cost is $191.57. Plus this was one of the good months! ConEd is out of control robbing us, the consumers. How can I join this lawsuit?

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