ED Magedson – Founder
Consumer's Gas Cooperative298 Tracy Bridge Road Orrville, Ohio USA
Consumer's Gas Cooperative CGC, Consumer Gas Cooperative Unfair Pricing, Forced "Membership," Exorbitant Deposits, Refusal to accept payment assistance programs Orrville Ohio
Upon moving to my rental home I found out that Consumer's Gas Cooperative (CGC) owned the gas line. They required a $325 deposit of absolutely every customer regardless of credit. This wouldn't be allowed with a regulated utility, but they are unregulated (this also isn't allowed for those on assitance).
I also found out that even though I was previously on the PIPP Plus payment plan (I am Master's degreed, yet unable to find employment) they did not accept it. Again, something not allowed with a regulated utility. Upon inquiring about it I was told "we don't pay for people who don't want to pay their bill, we'd never do that to our members." This person went on to explain (speaking slowly as though I may not be smart enough to understand) exactly how PIPP Plus works, but I already understood. I inquired about a busget arrangement and was told "I don't know if you know this (pause), but you can budget yourself. If you get a smaller bill in the Summer you can keep paying a higher amount so you have a credit in the Winter. Does that make sense?" You don't say? I have no grasp of simple math: Thank God you were able to explain that. How degrading.
Regulated utilities charge all their customers fees to cover any losses from those receiving assitance. The fees go into an account held with the State of Ohio from which compensation for the unpaid amount is then drawn out. Let's say someone's PIPP Plus payment was $20, but the actual bill was $50. The $30 would be drawn from the pool of fees set aside with the state. HEAP is similar, but is a lump sum payment made directly to the utility. CGC accepts that because it is easy for them to receive, but is far less helpful to the needy consumer. So, CGC said they would not expect their members to pay for anyone else's bill. However, CGC charges useless fees just like normal utilities. The difference is they want to keep those fees and not put them toward PIPP. So, if you want to call it members paying for others or members padding the pockets the CGC it doesn't really matter - everyone is paying the fees anyway.
"Membership" is forced and brings no benefits or member control. All of CGC's customers are rural and have no other options.
CGC has a HILARIOUSLY antiquated snail mail process to get the bill into one's name. So if you purchase or rent a home you will find yourself re-scheduling your move and apologetically writing gas bill checks to the previous owners or landlord. But, there's no way to know that is how it's going to be as most customers already resided in their homes when CGC took over Columbia Gas' lines.
As for pricing, my April 2014 bill was charged at $8.69/mcf. Dominion's published rates for April 2014 were $5.014/mcf. We are all getting over-charged and no one is doing anything about it. That's the beauty of the rural customer base - we are less likely to be able to afford an attorney.
I'd love nothing more than to see this schlock operation shut down and a real gas company to return.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/02/2014 10:49 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Consumers-Gas-Cooperative/Orrville-Ohio-44667/Consumers-Gas-Cooperative-CGC-Consumer-Gas-Cooperative-Unfair-Pricing-Forced-Membersh-1143556. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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