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.

ok pal November 03, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Michael Andrew Baldelli November 03, 2011 at 11:13 AM
It sounds like a really good idea, but the problem is that reimbursement won't be at the customer's usage, but at a flat rate. And the profits will still end up in the coffers of the utility companies.
Chris12 November 03, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Before tropical storm Irene Nat Grid had an emergency fund off approx $22 million for the RI area. The total Irene clean up cost approx $27M. This emergency $$$$ comes from the rates payers. A small portion of your utility bill is set aside for the emergency fund. If Nat Grid is negative $5M from storm Irene and legislation is passed for a power outage rebate where do you think the $$$$ will come from to pay the rebate? One way or another rate payers pick up the tab.
DRS November 03, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Exactly the cost will come out of our pockets regardless and I pay enough for electric i don't need more added costs...
ok pal November 03, 2011 at 07:20 PM
that's only because we're used to getting the short end of the stick. go to maine, north carolina, anywhere else and see how much they pay for electricity. its all coming from canada, its all the same power. national grid says to the utilities commission or whoever, we're going to increase rates, and nobody questions it. this would never fly anywhere else.
brian November 03, 2011 at 08:21 PM
politicians jumping on the bandwagon again - if any credit is considered than the size of the storm itself, damage to the system, and historic utility performace need to be taken into consideration. the halloween storm damage in mass and nh was massive, even for utilities who regularly trim trees.
Roy Earley November 04, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Looks like National Grid is also voting in this poll ;)
jde November 04, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Umm, I may be wrong here, but at least part of your bill is you paying per kilowatt hour. If your power is out, you're not using anything, so there's nothing to reimburse you for. I would guess that the transmission fee is also based on your kWh usage. If I'm wrong above, consider the following: Some complications of trying reimbursement: 1- what if it's your tree that fell on the lines? Isn't that more your fault than theirs? or, What if it's the guy up the street's tree? Should he reimburse all of those who have outages? or, what about someone who hits a pole? should they pay the folks who are out? 2- I'm not sure they have a way of telling exactly when you get your power back. They don't just throw a switch and all of the houses come back. They'd have to go door to door, probably. 3- What would they base the per hour reimbursement rate on when some people use lots of kWhs and some use few? an average hourly usage per household? That's a ridiculous amount of averaging, since it fluctuates probably daily and definitely by time of the year.


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