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It Pays to Bitch

So no one joined me on my anti-Atlanta Gas and Light crusade.  I had a few people who told me to “keep up the fight” and such, but no one was exactly putting on their rally hats.  And since Gas South had sent me to collections for a total amount of around $100, some of which was legitimately owed by me, I broke down and sent in a check for around $60 yesterday.  I still did not pay the AGL pass through fees for the month of August and the late fee associated with that charge, which made up for the difference.  I was hoping that Gas South would accept the partial payment and move on.

I was eating an early lunch today when my phone rang.  Lately I’ve been nervous to answer any unrecognized numbers because of the collections agency calling me.  I’ve heard stories about what you say to these collections agencies can be used against you and be binding legal agreements and stuff like that.  But this was a local number and I decided to answer it.  It was a very nice woman from Gas South saying that they had been contacted by Atlanta Gas and Light (AGL) regarding some concerns I had with my account and Gas South had been told to wave the $24.05 plus ALL late fees associated with my account!  As soon as they receive the check I sent yesterday, the money will be applied to the account and they will send me a refund check.

I still haven’t received any answers regarding the questions posed to AGL, however.  I would still like to see what they had to say.

But the lesson learned is an old cliché –  don’t just roll over and accept injustice.  Take a stand for what you believe is right.

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Screwed Over

To all of my readers, followers, and people who happen upon this blog in random ways:  I know it really sucks to not post for a while and then come back with some heavy negativity.  But, I am very tired of people trying to screw me and many others out of money.  And I’m tired of just sitting back and doing nothing about it.  So I am attempting to cause a stir with the only voice I have right now – this blog.  In that spirit, please forward this link or verbiage to anyone and everyone you think is also sick and tired of being screwed out of their hard-earned money.  Let’s go viral and send a message to providers such as Gas South and Atlanta Gas and Light that we will no longer quietly sit by and allow them to rake in profits at our expense.

The following is a letter to Atlanta Gas and Light that explains the story and the questions I would like to have them answer.  By the way, have you heard that though six years ago, Atlanta Gas and Light (AGL) “acquired some gas utilities on the East Coast and created efficiencies that cut the Georgia utility’s costs” yet they did not pass these savings on to their customers?  They continued to charge their customers the same amount as always in order to pull a profit.  And if that isn’t enough, they just asked the Public Service Commission to approve a rate increase!  Specifically, a $54 MILLION rate increase – which includes $3.2 million to cover “executive performance bonuses.”  This is bullshit.  Sorry for the language, but it seems appropriate in this situation.    You can find this information and the quotes I pulled on the AJC website: http://www.ajc.com/business/phantom-costs-bonuses-part-612820.html

Also, a quick note about “pass through fees” – a quick definition is a fee that AGL charges all natural gas companies, which they then pass down to their customers.  You can find a description of what AGL says they use the pass-through fees for here: http://www.scanaenergy.com/en/faq/manage-my-energy-costs/what-is-the-agl-pass-through-charge-on-my-bill.htm 

Without further ado, the letter:

To Whom It May Concern:
 
I would like for someone to comment upon the fact that following the termination of my account with Gas South while I lived at the residence of 136 Milner Avenue, Griffin, Georgia, 30224,  I received three bills:  the first for the previous month’s gas consumption in the amount of $35.37 (with the gas charges being at $9.86 and AGL pass through fees totaling a whopping $17.25); the second for the gas consumption from that point until the date of termination in the amount of $3.23; and a third, with no gas charges totaling $24.05, merely an AGL pass-through fee for the month of August in the amount of $16.54 along with Gas South’s customer service fee plus taxes.  I terminated my account with Gas South on July 21, 2010.  I had no gas service at the residence of 136 Milner Avenue for the month of August.
 
When I called Gas South to dispute the AGL pass through fee for the month of August, they informed me that their hands were tied, and they could not waive the fee.  Since I canceled my service a mere two days after AGL had checked the meters, I was stuck paying the pass-through fee for the entire month of August.  No where does it appear on Gas South’s bills that these fees will apply for the following month even if you terminate service past a certain date.  This is highway robbery.  Any other utility company offers pro-rates on services provided for partial months. 
 
Furthermore, AGL’s “pass-through” fees are an outrage!  You are charging gas providers more for using your pipes than for the gas that flows through them.  These fees are then passed along to the gas provider’s customers.  I will not quietly pay my bill and no longer ask questions.  What exactly do you mean when you say that AGL uses the pass through fee for “an Environmental Recovery Fee (ERF): A fee that covers expenses related to AGL’s cleanup of former manufactured gas plant sites” or “Customer Education Fee: A fee to cover the costs for AGL to provide non-biased consumer education pertaining to natural gas deregulation.”  I want REAL answers to these questions.  I have a blog with many readers and I plan to post not only this letter, but also your answer to this letter.
 
And it is absolutely despicable that for the last six years you have charged people for costs that AGL no longer incurred in order to turn a profit.  You offer a service to communities My husband and I sit at home and wonder how we’re going to pay bills, especially bills from a company for a month in which we DID NOT HAVE SERVICE!  Bills that, when I try to call Gas South and get them to waive the fee, they say “Our hands are tied” basically because AGL SCREWS us and therefore we HAVE to SCREW you to pass the cost on down; when I try to dispute the amount owed, I get sent to collections and $30 gets tacked on to the total.  

The most important questions I want answered:  Why do you think it is legitimate to increase your rates though your costs are going due to recent mergers and acquisitions?  Why can you not pro-rate two days worth of “pass-through” fees? 
Sincerely,
Jessica Gregory

If this outrages you as much as it does me, or even makes you the teensiest bit angry, take the time to write a letter and let AGL know that you won’t stand for this either.  Send your emails to: aglcustomercare@aglresources.com for now.  I’ll see what kind of response I get and we’ll go up the chain.  I also plan to send a letter to the Public Services Commission, whose mission is to: “exercise its authority and influence to ensure that consumers receive safe, reliable and reasonably priced telecommunications, transportation, electric and natural gas services from financially viable and technically competent companies.”  Their website is http://www.psc.state.ga.us/index.asp.  They can be reached at: (404) 656-4501 or gapsc@psc.state.ga.us

Also, there will be a meeting for the public to voice their opinion on the rate increases proposed by both Atanta Gas and Light as well as Georgia Power.  The information can be found on the homepage of the Public Service Commission, which is the link I included above.  If you live in or around Rome, be sure to attend and LET ATLANTA, GAS AND LIGHT AND GEORGIA POWER KNOW THAT IT IS NOT ALRIGHT TO MAKE A PROFIT FROM PROVIDING THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH A SERVICE!