The latest chapter in the Eversource deposit saga is possibly the most outrageous yet. (Get up to speed here and here). Following The PUC ruling earlier this week that Eversource is allowed to make up their own odd definitions, I decided to call and offer my services as a “responsible 3rd party guarantor” for the account in question.  Lest we forget, the PUC rule 1203.03 says;

In lieu of a deposit, a utility shall:

  1. Accept the irrevocable written guarantee of a responsible party such as a social service organization, a municipal welfare agency, a bank, ora customer in good standing of the utility as a surety for a customer service account, provided that any such guarantee shall:

    1. Be in writing;
    2. Include the maximum amount guaranteed; and
    3. Specify that the utility shall not hold the guarantor liable for the sums in excess of the maximum amount guaranteed unless agreed to in a separate written agreement;

Eversource rejected the offer, claiming only a ‘customer in good standing’ is qualified to be a guarantor under Eversource’s requirement. This was followed by a very rude phone call to Rep. Fisher by Eversource’s collections representative claiming that the only option available to him was a customer in good standing guarantee and demanding that he ‘just pay the deposit’.

Rereading 1203.03, I notice a few things;

  1. The term ‘such as’, which is not typically considered an exhaustive term.
  2. A whole (non-exhaustive) list of non-customer surety options, such as;
    1. A social service organization
    2. A bank
    3. A municipal welfare agency
  3. There is no definition of ‘responsible party’ given anywhere in the PUC rules.

To clarify, the Eversource collections representative stated that “The only option available was a customer in good standing” Something that, as anyone who has read this far know by now, is blatantly untrue. An Eversource customer read the list of options over the phone one by one from PUC rule 1203.03, and each legally mandated alternative was rejected by Eversource.

So we now have a situation where an agent of Eversource presented blatant misinformation to a customer, whether willfully or otherwise. Why would this happen? There are three possible options;

  1. This person deliberately lied to a NH citizen in order to part him with his money.
  2. This person doesn’t know the full options available to rate–payers under NH law, much like the thousands of rate-payers who were surprised with demands for these deposits last March.
  3. Perhaps the worst option, Eversource simply does not feel obligated to discuss in good faith. Maybe Eversource and its agent think (quite logically) that since they’re a monopoly and since customers need electricity they’ll fold and pay whatever Eversource demands.

I don’t know which one it is, but bad news- when it comes to abuse of power or of NH citizens, we are certainly NOT folding.