Yankee Gas Won’t Let Customer Go, Likes Charging Monthly Fee For Nothing

Gerald Augustine of Middletown was preparing to make more use of his garage, so three years ago he had natural gas service from Yankee Gas brought to his property.

He changed his mind and never used the gas line. But getting the service was much easier than stopping it.

He said he paid the monthly $13.50 customer service charge through May 2007, when he called the largest natural gas company in Connecticut and told them to cancel his service.

However, he says that call and numerous other calls he made to Yankee Gas, a division of Northeast Utilities, had no effect.

“To this day I keep receiving monthly bills and shutoff notices,” he wrote me last month. “Numerous times I called YG to let them know of this problem. Someone there has not done their job, actually numerous times that I called. I know the billing and shutoff notices are automatic but I wish someone would look into this dilemma. The bills since May of 2007 have added up to $300+.”

I forwarded Augustine’s email to the public relations department at Yankee Gas and to the state attorney general’s office. Within 48 hours, Augustine’s service was shut off, his bill was torn up and he was told he would get a refund of $59.

Yankee Gas, which has 200,000 customers in 71 Connecticut towns, declined to discuss the case with me.

But when they talked with Augustine, he said, they blamed him for the problem.

I asked him if he was given an explanation and/or apology.

“No, not really, actually very blunt,” he said. “Almost as if it was my fault and stated that the first time I called them was Aug.of 2009. That definitely wasn`t the case. At the beginning I was calling them each time I received a “service charge” bill. .. I must have a collection here of 12 shut-off notices. It just went on and on with no response, as if I was being totally ignored.”

Evidently, some Yankee Gas executives received customer service training from the same people who trained their sister company, Connecticut Light & Power, which for years refused to test meters for customers, a violation of state utility regulations.

It took investigations from the state Attorney General’s office, the legislature and state utility regulators to improve CL&P’s substandard customer service practices.

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4 Comments on "Yankee Gas Won’t Let Customer Go, Likes Charging Monthly Fee For Nothing"

  1. YG treats people like suspects, not customers. I tried signing up for service when I moved to a new apartment. They claimed I owed what the previous occupant didn’t pay. Their logic was that I was the same person, or a relative, and had to prove to them I wasn’t the former occupant. I had to send them the new lease, my old lease, a copy of my driver’s license. I sure made sure I paid their bills, however. I imagine they get even nastier once you’re hooked on gas.

  2. Greenrock76 | July 6, 2010 at 3:46 pm |

    If you do not get your problem solved through a company’s customer servicve area, after one, or two at the most, calls, you don’t keep going back to that area especially for three years. You find out the name and address of the president of the company using the corporation information found on each of the states web sites. You then write a nice letter that begins something to the effect “I am hesitant to have to write to you as you are running a large company and may a have a number of issues facing you. However, I did think that you would appreciate learning that certain areas of your company aren’t working efficiently and in the best interest of the company and its customers.” Then lay out the details of your problem in a polite manner, attach any correspondence or mailings that you have received and mail it. The head honcho may not read it but they all have very efficent secretaries or adminsitrative assistants that will take care of you problem. In addition to your getting the problem solved, you may also get a nice letter of apology from the president. I have followed this process on a number of occasions and it works.

  3. I believe the law says that the utility must test a meter if a customer puts the request in writing. If a customer calls the utility, is the company still obligated under the law to test the meter?

  4. I recently moved I called Yankee Gas and put in a request to have the gas shut off they said they must get inside and someone had to be there, I explained I work and could not be there but my mother said she would wait for them. They said that they would be there anytime from 8AM to 4PM, I explained that all the other utilities were coming early that day and there would be no heat or electricity and my mother was 87 years old and could not sit in the dark and cold for 8 hours. Their response basically was too bad and they didn’t care and if no one was there they would not shut it off. I explained that I had shut off anything that’s uses gas in the house and there was nothing on to charge for again I was told to bad. I now realize that Yankee Gas doesn’t care because if they make it as hard as they can for the customer to shut off their service they can keep charging a monthly charge even if you don’t use any of their product. This is just one more reason Yankee Gas is one of the poorest customer services companies I have ever dealt with.

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