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« Reason

FirstEnergy abuses its monopoly with CFL scheme

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)


Published October 7, 2009

Let me get this straight: FirstEnergy wants to send me a product I don't need and didn't ask for, and it's going to have the audacity to charge me for it?! And PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) approved the plan?

This is a dumb and unnecessary plan. Probably illegal, too. As if I don't already pay enough to utility companies, instead of helping me lower my bill, they're raising it.

Oh, I get that they're claiming to help me lower my bill by encouraging use of bulbs that reduce energy use. But what about the fact that we're already using CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs) throughout our home, have extras in the closet and can buy them ourselves for far less than the approximately $21.60 The Vindicator estimates we'll pay to FirstEnergy for them?

The utility is abusing its monopoly to generate a profit from the forced purchase of unsolicited product.

Why didn't the utility include an offer to its customers on their invoice? "Check here and add $xx.xx to your payment to receive x CFL bulbs, which reduce energy consumption in your home."? Or they could have sent a separate offer letter.

As it is, they're going to get sued, and they'll end up losing money from the litigation process.

Fed up? Register your opinion with Ohio Consumers’ Council at (877) 742-5622. I know I will.

[Edit: 5:40pm. Ohio Consumers' Council will likely tell you to contact PUCO directly at  1-800-686-7826, or via its Web site at https://www.puc.state.oh.us/secure/PicForm/index.cfm ]

[Update: 6:00pm: Gov. Strickland tries to halt program http://www.vindy.com/news/2009/oct/07/breaking-news-strickland-call-puco-newswatch/ ] 


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