National Grid: The Monster We Can’t Escape

National Grid is an energy provider in upstate New York.  In some areas, like Schenectady, they are the only energy supplier.

The government and National Grid will tell you that’s not true.  They will tell you that there are a number of other energy suppliers in upstate New York.  That you’re more than welcome to take your business elsewhere.  That you can now deal with any number of suppliers and don’t have to deal with National Grid anymore.  They’ve even got a handy-dandy list for both gas and electric customers that you can refer to to find an energy supplier you’d rather deal with.

When citizens got fed up with the constant rise in price and utter disregard for an already impoverished people, New York started a program called “Your Energy… Your Choice” which, they said, would allow other energy suppliers access to the power lines in upstate New York and give citizens the option to stop using (and, by default, supporting) National Grid.  I looked into switching recently but found out that National Grid still owns the power lines.  And instead of the other energy suppliers renting the lines from National Grid, customers have to pay a monthly fee to National Grid to use the lines.

You don’t even get a bill from the actual energy provider you decide to go with.  All of the billing is done through National Grid.  So even if you’re getting your energy from someone else, you have to pay National Grid for service.  The only way to avoid dealing with National Grid in upstate New York is to live in an area covered by NYSEG, which, from what I understand, isn’t much better than National Grid.

As if all that isn’t enough, let me tell you about the bull shit we’re dealing with right now.

I’m currently on a payment agreement with National Grid.  I owe a lot of friggin money.  At least half of which is my ex’s fault, but that’s neither here nor there.  I owe them money and I’m trying to pay it off as best I can.

But the economy sucks.  Prices on food, electricity, natural gas, gasoline, housing are all going up and pay rates are staying the same.  We’ve managed to cut a lot of unnecessary stuff out of our budget but shit happens.  Emergencies come up.  And sometimes the budget’s still pretty tight.  Like now.

I had to sign a paper and send it back to confirm that we were agreeing to the arrangement.  Because our finances are what they are and we don’t have access to a fax machine, I had to wait till the day before the paper was supposed to be in to mail it out so I got it in just under the wire.  Which means their system had already sent us a disconnection notice that I received on or around June 7th.

On June 8th, I spoke to someone at National Grid about our payment arrangement.  I asked if they received the payment arrangement paper and if I still had a disconnection on my account.  The person I spoke to quoted me a bill due on June 19th (today) for the amount of $134.01.  With our payment arrangement, that meant we owed $144.01 due today.

Over the past few days, we’ve received three envelopes from National Grid, all with different amounts paid and due.  We were utterly confused.  One invoice said $1700 had been added to my account and I owed $0.  Another said that I owe $395.37 by July 5th.

The final notice we received said this:

We recently confirmed that you have been billed for usage on the wrong gas and electric meters from 10/24/08 to 05/20/09.  This situation has been corrected.  Your account was not debited for the usage you were under-billed for your electric service prior to 05/20/09.  We have re-billed the gas portion of your account for your actual usage resulting in a credit in the amount of $633.76.  The adjustments made are based upon actual readings off your correct meter and are in accordance with Public Service Commission Regulations.

They sum it up by apologizing for any inconvenience this might have caused me.  Which, yeah.  It’s a little inconvenient.  I now owe more than I used to.  But no biggie, right?  Tack it onto the end and I’ll pay it off gradually with the rest, right?


They want $400 of it right effing now.  They cancelled my bill of $134.01 and reissued a bill of $395.37 due by July 5th.

I’m not really understanding their logic, here.  I’m already on a payment arrangement.  The lowest payment arrangement possible according to the rules their collections agents have to follow.  The one they reserve for people in poverty.

So how does it make sense to bill me for 119 days of service – that I would have already paid for if they hadn’t screwed up – all at once?  And how is it even remotely fair?  And how the fuck am I supposed to come up with that kind of money on the 5th when rent is due on the 1st?

So I called.  And the first agent was convinced there was nothing she could do.  So she transferred me to someone else.  Who understood completely and transferred me to her supervisor.

It’s still not fixed.  I’m going to have to call back again.  Instead of lowering the amount they want to charge me right freaking now, they pushed it back a pay cycle.  Which is fine for now.  But then we’ll be at an even larger impass.  How am I going to pay $395.37 + whatever my current bill is?

Doesn’t it make more sense to… tack it on the back and let me pay it off with the rest?  Since it was, in fact, their mistake?  They’re treating it like a past due balance… a bill I just didn’t pay.  But it’s a balance they only just discovered.  So why am I being penalized?

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15 Responses to “National Grid: The Monster We Can’t Escape”

  1. avatar Dan says:

    Ha! I’m in it a lot deeper my friend.

    I owe them like $600, and try and send them between $150-$200 a month. According to the letters tho, I’ve defaulted on agreements, and have been reported to credit bureaus. My final disconnect notice said i would be disconnected on 6/18….but it’s 7/20 and I still have juice. These situations really suck in this economic hell. The financial balancing act gets more tricky by the month. I work full time too, but it just doesn’t go as far as it used to. Good luck tho!

    The bitter irony for me is that my dad was a nimo/nat grid costumer service employee/supervisor for 30+ years. Hell I was raised on nimo pay checks lol

  2. avatar Linda says:

    I own a business and gave them a $100.00 security deposit to get service on. They grabbed the money now won’t turn me on. Said I have a previous bill. I said yes and I will pay it. I paid over half the bill, $300.00. Still no service. Now they want the rest. I can’t conduct my business. My family needs food and money. Now they send me a shut off for my home and call me at my business. Talk about playing nasty games. Then they sell your information but refuse to talk with my lawyer about the bill due to privacy issues. That’s why business cannot survive in NYS and Erie County! Monopoly that is owned by several companies to stay barely legal. More money than God.

    • avatar rayne says:

      Yeah… this company is out of control. But then, so are most organizations with lots o’ money and resources we need to survive. We should all move to the Adirondacks and learn how to survive with fire and creeks again. That’ll teach ’em.

    • avatar Debra says:

      I have over a 600.00 dollar bill. I just paid them 248.00 and now two days later said I had to pay 295.00 because I paid late.!! I am the only one working in the home and money is beyond tight. I have a threat of losing my electric according to them until I pay the 295.00 which I cannot pay until the 26th of the month when I get paid again. I have to have surgery will be out of work a total of 6 months and money will get even tighter. I don’t understand if you are paying your current months bill why they can tack on like 25 dollars to catch up with the excess that accumulated while on the budget billing. Utilities have gotten out of hand and if there is anyway that solar could be used you can bet your sweet ass that I would be using it right now. I now see why some people live off the grid. and live off the land like a friggin hermit.
      They were sick and tired of paying the high wages that all the fat big wigs get off all of us smaller people on a service that is a necessity not a luxury!!!

  3. avatar Alicia says:

    These people are criminals. They did the whole you defaulted on a payment arrangement thing on me and shut me off completely before the payment was even due and I have 3 kids and a disabled husband. Then the next week shut off my gas. All while they were receiving monthly payments of hundreds of dollars from the state. They stick it to you knowing you have no where else to go.

  4. […] June of last year, we were in it deep with National Grid, the monster upstate New Yorkers can’t escape.  I posted about the insane […]

  5. avatar Wendy says:

    I have had them threaten to shut me off continually because I dont pay my bill by the due date but always pay entire bill when I pay they are a monopoly and the PSC don’t care…

  6. avatar lisa says:

    I actually reported NG to the State of New York Department of Public Services, for the following reason : they transferred arbitrarily $1,290 from another account to mine, they “gave” me a payment agreement, that ( as an idiot) I pay rgurlarly for the past 36 montsh !then they destroyed my credit score , listing my credit as criminal delinquency ( or something of this kind..)

    Please, if you have a problem with them, contact NY State of Public Service, they will listen to you

  7. avatar SRT 5752 says:

    This original post closely reflects my situation. What can we do?

  8. avatar SRT 5752 says:

    I’ve decided to record all phone transactions with natgrid. I can turn them into mp3s and upload them YouTube. From there, I can post them on Facebook.

  9. avatar adams says:

    National Grid is British. They arent community oriented. They are a greedy company based in London. Its the governments fault to let them in a have controlwith our power. Gov. Cuomo’s father hated lilco because of the nuke power plant they were goning to put online Shoreham, right under his nose. So the new gov. His son has no problem with PSEG and National Grid.Its going to get even higher. This country is producing more gas and oil than before but the prices arent being lowered they are increasing???????Write to the president on the whitehouse web page. Click on The energy dept.Complain. Also your congressman and local representatives. it will only get worse.

  10. avatar Auspiciousbunny says:

    I live in a two room cabin in NY state. My heat is electric. I had no idea what I was getting into moving here with National Grid.

    My heat bill was already high at over $100 a month — and that is with a wood stove going full blast all the time, and my heat set below 60 degrees always. Then my dad had a series of procedures for his heart. I was late on the budget plan one month. I got a bill for $1200 +

    They claimed I owed them $600 for the month of March 2014. For a two-room house with an electric bill in winter of usually about $120/mo.

    I filed a complaint with the NYS Public Service Commission. They did absolutely NOTHING. In fact, on multiple occasions representatives there told me to sign the payment plan agreement. They were supposed to be looking into over billing. I never heard a peep out of them, and repeatedly called and was assured my case was “open” — this went on for a year.

    Then NG came and shut my power off even though I was on time making my regular monthly payments, and had a legal dispute with the PSC that rendered the outstanding balance on hold until the dispute is resolved.

    They left my cat, which has health problems, in a 90-degree house with the windows shut. I called to inform them I had a letter that the balance was put on hold. These people are VERY UGLY. I feel sorry for their diseased souls, no matter how wealthy they are. If this is how they make their wealth they are nothing but scum.

    I feel like I live in a banana republic at this point.

    My parents own a house that is 5000 square feet in Colorado and my bill was in the same league as their bill for heat in March of 2014.

    New York is so corrupt that I don’t want to give them my tax money anymore. I am considering moving out of state, and I suggest everyone else do the same.

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