Most people have heard of the Better Business Bureau .Less have heard of the Public Service Commission.The problem is that most people,especially the disenfranchised, never use these services. A great deal of energy went into putting these agencies in place to protect your rights and it is your right and your role to use it.
If you have never used either of these agencies,you have been,are being,or about to be, screwed Let’s start with the Public Service Commission.They cover: Electric, Gas, Telecommunications, Water, Cable and Steam.
Electric and gas in NY state come on the same bill,I think.They certainly do in New York City.You have a problem with Con Ed, for example, and you feel that you are being screwed and you can’t understand why they don’t give a damn about you,the customer.They are threatening to cut off your lights and gas.You may not know it, but you are in a very powerful position if you file a complaint with the Public Service Commission.
If Con Ed is not turning on your gas and or electricity,if you are unfortunate to be involved in some nightmarish construction project, and you are right at the end of this thing, and the only part holding you back is Con Ed, call the Public Service Commission.It is like someone turned a light on in the middle of your head.Now all of a sudden you are being treated like a customer, a very important customer.The word ,fawning and obsequious comes to mind.
“Yes Mr Smith.No Mr Smith,we will be right there Mr Smith”.
And when it is all done they don’t leave you alone.
“Was everything done to your satisfaction Mr Smith?”.
“Yes,everything is fine now,but please stop calling me,this the 3rd time you called today”.
The same goes for Verizon or whatever lame phone company you were unfortunate enough to be stranded with.Water and cable problems are also issues that the Public Service Commission deal with.If you turn on the tap, or your TV and the water,or the reception, is some sickly shade of yellow,and you are not getting service, call them.
If you don’t like your bill and you feel that you are being burned,then most likely you are.Every state has a Public Service Commission so if you don’t live in New York, you can still file a complaint.The last item on the list is steam, and I’m not sure what that is but perhaps that has something to do with the way you will feel,before,during and after your struggle.
Remember these companies are monopolies and this Public Service Commission is in place to protect your rights.All I ask is, that you tell other people what I am telling you.Not enough people file complaints about these monopolies and so they end up just servicing the people who do, and everyone else gets shafted.They get huge fines levied against them when they get too many complaints. They spend little or no money on maintenance and then blackouts occur like the one in Queens last summer.
The other agency is the Better Business Bureau and these guys are great.I avoid bureaucrats like the plague,but this is different.For a change,they are on your side.I’ve seen Citi Bank, Chase and GE groveling, giving back the money they tried to steal, and apologizing for any inconvenience.
The Public Service Commission help out with the monoplies and the Better Business Bureau with all the other businesses.This includes auto/lemon laws and id theft.
Always remember,to pass this information on. Don’t forget to thank the people that helped you.Sometimes it is hard to imagin a person there working on your behalf especially if you file these complaints online.