Outraged Consumers Demand Outage Compensation, Better Power Protection

July 23, 2012

  By Allison Boccamazzo, Director of Brand Strategy

The recent June derecho left many without power and infuriated at the damage caused. While many would simply shrug it off as an aggressive course of nature or something which was unpreventable, one woman firmly believed otherwise. Cathy Pelekakis suffered six days – or almost one full week – without power, and decided to make some complaint calls to her state rep, the Baltimore County executive, and the Maryland Public Service Commission to express herself. What’s worst is her letter to Comcast (News - Alert), who had apparently been charging for services which she literally could not use while sans power for six straight days.

Some cable bills are relatively inexpensive while others can cost hundreds per month; Direct TV’s Premier monthly cable package, for example, lies just below $100. Still, one week of that – about $25 – can fill up your car enough to get to work for a couple days or to buy some groceries to hold you over for the week. With this abrasive economy still pushing onward, $25 can go a long way, and if the bill climbs higher, so do the savings.

For 60-year-old Pelekakis, it wasn’t about the money – it was about the basics.

“I don't appreciate the fact they are charging me for services that I never received through no fault of my own," says 60-year-old Pelekakis. "I'm going to ask them to compensate me for that time…it’s not much – five or ten dollars. It's the principle behind it."

 Apparently, thousands of Maryland citizens feel the same way, or very likely do, the article explains. As the June 2012 storm rolled on through, it left 1.1 million utility customers of Maryland without power. Their first concern was staying cool in the sweltering summer heat, but soon after having power restored, they turned their attention to their seemingly abused cable, phone and utility bills, which they couldn’t utilize but remained consistent.

"Once the bills start coming in, it probably crosses the minds of some people that it seems unfair to have to pay the full bill when their service has not been there for the full period," explains Ruth Susswein, spokeswoman for Consumer Action (News - Alert), who lost electricity for five days herself due to the outage.

At the end of the day, affected consumers are encouraged to express complaints anyway, regardless of what the companies are saying or doing. It’s true, sometimes the best method is venting, even if there’s a chance it may not get you anywhere.

"If enough people complain, the company may get the message and change their policy for the future or take some corrective action," says Karen Leland, co-author of Customer Service for Dummies. "So you are not just complaining for yourself, but as a consumer in general."

What this really boils down to is stocking up with the latest and most reliable power protection products on the market to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of in such ways. Clearly you can see how power is not the only thing individuals lose when suffering an outage. Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert) is a leading provider of power protection and management products, including the Minuteman line of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) for everything from computers to servers to data communication systems.

In fact, its new resources page includes a constant feed of customer raves, boasting further company loyalty.

One says, “I am so pleased with your product that I am planning on buying a couple more for my other computers,” C. Soloky, Wagener, SC.

Another says, “Only 15 minutes after I installed an MN 325, I suffered a total power failure and the unit worked as advertised. Talk about timing! I haven't had any other power failures since, but I know that if I do I'll be protected,” L. Neidow, Kentwood.

Go see for yourself – check out Minuteman UPS/Para System’s power protection products and solutions now to avert a major potential crisis like the powerful June storm which affected millions. Click here for Minuteman’s site.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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