Friday, March 28, 2008

Questar Gas Makes Utahans Pay

Questar Gas, which really holds a monopoly for natural gas delivery in Utah, has made a mistake and wants Utahans to pay for it. They screwed up calibrating some of their meters, and now say that about 500 customers owe them more money, about $600,000 more.

Interestingly enough, they didn't tell anyone. They just billed them for a "correction." Bob and Ann Slattery's natural gas bill jumped from $112.00 a month to $400.00 in their February bill, because of a $370.00 "correction."

This is on the low end, it turns out. The average "correction" billed to make up for Questar's mistake was $1,200.00.

If Questar, and some other public utilities, didn't have a government sanctioned monopoly on services, this wouldn't be happening. Any other company would be apologizing profusely and then eating the cost themselves in an effort to keep the customer. Questar doesn't have to do that. There is no competition for them. They know they've got a hold of the customer by their heating elements.

The whole thing has, thankfully, sparked an investigation. There is going to be a hearing by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on the matter because 34 of the 500 affected customers have filed complaints.

If you're one of the affected customers, I recommend you contact the PSC to file a complaint, as well. Don't just "roll over" for this. We can't allow our public utility companies to take advantage of us because they made a mistake. They are privately held companies and need to be held accountable for their own actions.

For more information, see this KSL article.

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