Now that the dust has settled and the snow has finally melted into a frigid memory, we can see something of what was sleeping under all that snow and ice as New Hampshire comes alive once again. One unwelcome revival is the practice by PSNH, now Eversource, of requiring deposits on accounts they determine are ‘at risk’. The formula for these deposits is simply ‘not to exceed the sum total of the two highest use months of the past 12 months.’
In years past, PSNH assessed these requirements on clients who had been shut off for nonpayment. This year, Eversource has decided to tighten the net, and requires deposits for anyone who has paid late. With this past winter being among the worst in over a century, you can imagine this provoked some ire, as the 12 feet of snow covering NH not only raised electricity consumption, but stifled our economy, making it difficult to pay a nearly $700 monthly electric bill. In this light, it’s easy to see how many late payments could be made and Eversource, scenting profits only a state guaranteed monopoly can make, decided to cash in on the down economy.
In discussing this with representatives of Eversource and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), both were quick to point out that Eversource is acting within their prevue under PUC rule 1203.03(e). Which leads me to the question, why does the PUC have authority to make this rule? The Public Utilities Commission exists to reign in the public utility companies, because they are monopolies. If Eversource can charge nearly $1,500 in deposits for services not rendered, then what protection is the PUC really giving consumers?
Isn’t it odd how many of the problems with outrageous government policies harming citizens in NH has to do not with the laws our elected officials pass, but the rules our appointed bureaucrats make up?