UNOINDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents of Long Island have no choice in who distributes their power – it is PSEG.
So why, some rate payers are demanding to know, is their utility spending $5.5 million a year on advertising? CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan talked to some people who received ads in the mail.
“I was just furious when this thing came in,” said Ridge, Long Island grandmother Mary Ann Fox.
The “thing” in question is a two-and-a-half foot long color brochure on cardstock paper that arrived in PSEG customers’ mailboxes, at a cost to the utility of $318,000.
Fox said she would rather see the money spent on the fliers to for “stabilizing rates.”
“Our rates are some of the highest in the country,” she said.
Fox, a widowed retiree on Social Security, said she speaks for many of her neighbors in her over-55 community. They believe such print ads are a waste of money.
“Didn’t even bother to open and read it – it went right into the trash,” Fox said.
But PSEG Long Island said since the “It’s About You” mailer went out, hits to the “Save Money” portion of its website have increased 750 percent.
“Designed to help our customers save money, know what we are doing in the community, and know how we’re investing the dollars that we have into making the system more reliable,” said PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir.
But Fox countered, “They are the only game in town, so why do they have a $5 1/2 million budget for publicity?”
Following LILCO and LIPA, PSEG inherited a troubling customer satisfaction rating. It recently in dead last out of 138 utilities across the country, according to J.D. Power.
The company has now elevated itself three spots to 135th.
“PSEG’s aim is to improve customer satisfaction and serve the customer,” said energy expert Matthew Cordero. “The first way to do that is to provide good service.”
Cordero believes it would have been far cheaper to insert the informational flier into the monthly bill.
The utility said it is contractually obligated to improve customer satisfaction.
The utility said it has offered Fox a spot on its new consumer panel, and hopes to hold more community seminars on energy saving tips.