Rochester, New York – On Monday this week, community members organized a second town hall meeting to discuss the issues many Rochester residents have with RG&E and a potentially public takeover of RG&E. From paying expensive gas and electricity to billing problems that have lasted for months now, the reasons are numerous, and local residents are becoming increasingly vocal about changing RG&E as their main gas and electricity supplier.
The company covers 700,000 electricity and natural gas customers in Monroe, Wayne, Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Allegany, Livingston, Cayuga, and Ontario counties and is the largest in the area. Thousands of customers received mistaken bills in the spring months, something that continued in the upcoming period. The utility company had recently increased the gas and electricity bills, and now it has proposed another 13-22% rate increase. This is why Rochester metro area residents are furious, and a growing number of them are seeking a public takeover.
The future is yet to be decided, and a public takeover is a process that will take some time. Meanwhile, the company acknowledged that its reputation is declining and decided to give away free natural gas detectors to more than 30,000 low-income households across the state of New York.
According to a Rochester Gas and Electric statement, more than 35,000 natural gas detectors are going to be distributed in the next three years to some of its customers. The detectors will be given to residential, low-income families. Per the statement, the company has so far distributed more than 12,000 natural gas detectors, while trying to distribute more than 1,000 per week.
In addition to an instruction manual, the package should also include an informational brochure on gas leaks and safety tips.
The DeNova Detect alarms were purchased at a reduced cost from New Cosmos USA. A similar effort was conducted with Con Edison in New York City in recent years.
The giveaway of natural gas detectors comes at a time when the company faces public backlash against how it operates. The growing dissatisfaction among Rochester Gas and Electric customers might result in serious changes on the Rochester gas and electricity market.