Customers Must Contact Utilities For Outage Credits

Telephone, cable and Internet providers will issue service credits for power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Rockland residents can receive credit for telephone, cable/video and internet service lost due to power outages experienced as a result of Hurricane Sandy but they must contact their service providers. For those people who were without some or all of these services for two weeks, it could represent a sizable portion of their regular bill. 

“I encourage anyone who experienced loss of any of these services to contact their provider to determine if they are entitled to a credit for the time their service was out," said Rockland County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger.  "Thousands experienced the loss of these services for many days and that could reflect almost a quarter or more of the monthly cost of the services.  For about 250 residents left without power for almost two weeks, it could represent one-half of the monthly cost."  

Schoenberger noted people were more concerned with cleaning up, repairing damage and trying to return to their normal activities and may be unaware of their right to receive a credit for the time they did not have telephone, cable, internet or wireless services. 

Schoenberger advises consumers to contact their providers by phone, internet or in writing to let them know about the length of time the service was not working and to check their future subsequent bills for the credit.  

Anyone who has comments, questions or complaints about the utilities should notify the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) which is responsible for ensuring that New York’s utility providers provide adequate service.  

The PSC can be reached  online at http://www.dps.ny.gov/complaints.html or by phone at 800-342-3377  from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Letters can be sent to:Office of Consumer Services, NYS Department of Public Service, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223

Robin Traum December 14, 2012 at 02:41 AM
The Merm - I believe the answer to your first question is the outage was caused by a natural disaster and O&R is not required to issue credits in those situations. The suggestion to bury power lines has come up but it is extremely expensive. It may be examined more closely after the lengthy outages after Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. Robin
Gregg December 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Good article Patch. Thanks for letting people who were not aware of this know. I called Optimum for lost cable & internet and also Sprint for my cell phone early last month and each gave me credit for outage.
Kevin M December 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I keep hearing how expensive it would be to bury the power lines. That argument is absolutely ridiculous. Year after year O&R customers have to pay for the maintenance of those lines, the trimming of trees and lost power. Losing power is not just an inconvenience it can be a death sentence. We have people in our county that depend on electricity to live. The argument I see for that problem is to buy a generator. it cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 to have a generator installed. Portable generators are not a permanent solution so don't even go there! Who do you think is going to pay for the cleanup of hurricane Sandy? Surprise! the customers with another rate increase.
The Merm December 15, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Too darned bad for the power company that it's expensive to bury the power lines. Every year, they rake in profits for the service they are supposed to provide to us. Sometimes you have to take a loss, if you're not providing the service. That's what happens in the real world of business. Why are the utilities exempt from having to take a loss? Why are our spineless politicians remaining silent on this subject? If this was a "natural disaster" as you referred to it, then why is it that phone, internet and TV providers are issuing credit? These companies should be reembursed by O&R for the credits that they gave, because the archaic O&R system caused the problem.
The Merm December 15, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Kevin- I laugh at the "too expensive to bury power lines" excuse used by O&R. They are using 19th Century systems in the 21st Century. Let them take a loss for a few years and bury the darned lines. But no, every year it has to be profit, profit, profit for them. We as customers are trapped because they are the only game in town. This is where our politicians should step in and force them to upgrade their entire system.


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