Editorial

Worried About WorryFree




We’d love to endorse the new PSEG WorryFree program, but it is inevitable that we have some reservations. After all, PSEG is the descendant of the Long Island Lighting Company and many of us lived through the LILCO horror show, when electric rates were literally among the highest in the entire country. Worse, there was a certain arrogance about the company hierarchy, a smugness that came from knowing their jobs were protected.

PSEG hasn’t been given enough credit: the company, in fact, has stabilized the rates and increased customer satisfaction over the years.

As of late, PSEG residential customers have been peppered with mail-ins from the company offering an annual plan that would address possible charges in the event homeowners need repairs to electric systems.

Currently, the company only covers electrical service to the exterior of the residence — the meter readers, connections to fuse boxes, and so on are the responsibility of the owner. A fee of $5.87 per month will enroll the homeowner in PSEG WorryFree, which is a joint venture with a national company called Home Server, and not directly linked to the utility.

The annual rate is renewed automatically — at a cost that has yet to be determined, and that gives us pause. So, too, does a $5000 annual limit on costs incurred by the company. Since lines from the poles are now buried underground, a repair could entail massive excavation and meaningful expenses.

More to the point, most of the folks we quizzed don’t recall out-of-pocket expenses caused by outside electrical problems with the utility. We call them and they come and fix it. Now, they want us to pay for “Exterior Electric Coverage.”

Apparently, WorryFree offers similar services for HVAC systems, plumbing, and appliance repair. Here on the East End, it is hard to find licensed appliance repairmen, and because of the traffic, service calls cost a small fortune. Perhaps WorryFree, which guarantees workmanship and uses only licensed repairmen, might make inroads on this front. But that’s another conversation for another time.

Clearly, there is a change coming, and it can only mean one thing: It will cost consumers money one way or another.