Thursday, January 10, 2013

And The Aggravation Starts

National Grid supplies natural gas and electricity to upstate New York.  I visited their website the other day to arrange to possibly have power run into the land.  I need to compare prices of off-grid, grid-tie, and grid only.   Their website blew up on me twice with a SQL error (SQL is a database).  I reported it on a fill-in-the-blanks form, and today received a boilerplate email to call them, so I did.

After roaming through a few phone menus, I was finally connected with Randy.  He took all the information such as address, distance from the nearest pole, if I'd had an account with them before, etc.  

"OK", he said, "you're all set".

"Um... OK.  Now what?".

"Just let us know when you start building."

"And then what?"

"And then we'll put in the order for electrical service."

"But that can take two months!"

"Actually, about four or five months."

"What?  That doesn't make any sense.  Why don't you put in the order now, and then it will be ready when I build?"

"Because we don't do that anymore.  Many people building a new home have us run power in and then don't build, and we get stuck eating the labor and materials."

"How about if I pay you up front?"

"We don't do that."

"You won't run power lines, even if I pay you to do it?"

"No.  We don't do that.  Company policy."

So, I told Randy what I thought about National Grid's company policy and business practices.  Tomorrow I plan on calling New York State's Public Service Commission.  National Grid has a monopoly on providing utilities to upstate New York, but that doesn't mean that they can get away with providing obscenely inferior service.


  1. I'd "tag team" it -- hit both National Grid executives AND state utility regulators. If you start hitting a wall then start hitting your State Assemblyman, State Senator and County Legislator. That's pure, unadulterated BS!

  2. So Dave, did they give you a quote for how much it would cost to run a line to your lot?

    1. $23 to $25 dollars a foot. The first 500 feet along a public road is free, and you pay after that. We'd need to run power lines about 600 feet, or $15,000 worth. An option is to run the power lines myself. I have access to a backhoe, and it's not rocket science to dig a ditch and run wires inside conduit. If they won't let me do that, we most certainly will be off grid, which would cost $25k to $35k. I'd pay the extra not to be beholden to National Grid.