Love, Love, Love Those Government Regulations

by , posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hey you Tea Party folks, how’s that ‘drowning the government in the bathtub’ routine going??? How’s that ‘getting rid of government regulations’ working for you, huh?

My neighbor just opened up her Nicor gas bill to see a ONE month charge of $960.00. The month before was nearly $700.00. The bills were double and triple the bills from last year.

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No, she doesn’t live in a house the size of a public library. Her house is about 3,200 square feet—large for sure, but not enough to warrant one month’s heating costs of well over $900.

She checked all over her house for changes in her venting, open storm windows, and any heating leak problems she could find. NADA. NONE. Everything sealed tight. Everything.

So she called Nicor.

“There must be a gas leak,” she told the guy answering the phone at Nicor. “I nearly fainted when I opened my bill for $960.”

He empathized with her, but said that many years ago she had signed up for this ‘special program,’ called Nicor Advanced, and they were not regulated by the government.

“Aren’t you Nicor?” she asked.

“Oh yes ma’am, but Nicor Advanced is a ‘sister’ company to Nicor. Nicor Advanced is not regulated. Nicor is.”

“I don’t recall ever signing up for this Nicor Advanced” she said, thinking the advance is actually for Nicor shareholders and the company, and certainly not for homeowners just trying to heat their house and pay their bills.

“Well, somehow you got signed up for this program, ma’am. The charge per therm under the Nicor Advanced program is $1.390. The charge per therm with the Nicor program is $ 0.68, about half of that.”

“Half?” she asked.

“Half,” he said.

After several hours on the phone, most of them spent on hold while listening to advertisements about Nicor, she was able to switch out of the program and into the government regulated program called just plain—Nicor.

But she still had to pay the nearly $1000 bill. On top of the nearly $600 bill from last month, which she had already paid. If she had been in the government regulated program in the first place, her bills would have been AT LEAST HALF THAT. How’s that for government regulation?

I don’t know about you, but I can do quite a bit with an extra $800 dollars in my pocket. Instead, my friend’s $800 went to Nicor Advanced Energy LLC, the unregulated sister company of Nicor.

After hearing her story, I did just a little bit of research. Turns out, the Illinois Commerce Commission regulates utilities. But some programs are able to opt out and sign up poorly informed people who, as one accountant told me during this research, “…for some reason, don’t like regulations.”

Could that be you ‘tea party folks’ who don’t like government regulations? The “poorly informed” people the accountant referred to who don’t want the government regulating big business?

Please know Big Business likes poorly informed people who don’t want ‘government regulations,’ so they can up their charges and redistribute your income into their pockets. Wake up folks and smell your dollars going into their wallets.

It’s called redistribution of money from the bottom up—or ‘trickle up,’ but perhaps better experienced by us regular folk as ‘legalized’ theft.

Check out the Illinois Commerce Commission website You will find this is what government regulations do for us:

Nicor Gas—REGULATED price per therm:

January 2012: $ 0.44         March 2012: $ 0.34
2013: .42                          2013: .42
2014: .46                          2014: .68

And this is what corporations do when they can avoid consumer protections like our government price regulations:

Nicor ‘Advantage’ Program—UNREGULATED price per therm:

January 2014: $ 0.799         March 2014: $ 1.39

Quite a difference, huh?

So, what’s government regulations done for you lately? Well, for me, I got charged $ 0.46 and $ 0.68 per therm on my January and March 2014 gas bill. As for my friend, she didn’t get that. Instead, she got charged $ 0.799 and $ 1.390 per therm.

She got gouged. But she learned. Not anymore. She’s liking those government regulations. How about you?


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