Can I dispute their "sudden" request for a security deposit after using services for 25 years?

Review by ready2retire on 2011-03-31
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- Recently received a notice from BGE requesting me to pay a security deposit due to a history of turn off notices within the last year. However, whenever I have received the notices, the services have always been paid prior to their notice cut-off date. I have 2 issues with this new policy: 1.if a person is having difficulty paying on time due to financial constraints and the utility increase, how is adding additional charges helping the consumer pay their utility? and 2. if a person has been a good customer for over 20 years with no history of late payments until recently, why wasn't that taken into consideration?
Comments:14 Replies - Latest reply on 2012-02-15
Posted by Bob on 2011-03-31:
Makes no difference if they were paid, the notice is the important part. It shows you are not paying on time. Good luck.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-03-31:
It would probably be best if you spoke to someone in authority at BGE directly.

Despite your long history of making payments on time, what they see is a customer with several recent defaults and a risk of no payment so they may require a deposit, which is within their right.

Good luck!
Posted by T on 2011-03-31:
The reason that it was not taken into consideration is you are now considered a high risk. I have been fortunate enough to have never received a shutoff notice - if I did though, it wouldn't surprise me if the utility requested a security deposit.

It is pretty common, I believe, to require a security deposit from certain customers of a utility, telecom, etc, if a customer's risk is unknown or they have a blemish.
Posted by ydnas on 2011-04-01:
I agree with you ready2retire if your having a hard time (especially with the way the economy is now) paying your bill on time what makes them think that you could afford a deposit on your account? Your already paying a late fee!!
Posted by Skye on 2011-04-01:
If you are having trouble paying for your utility bill, ask them if they have any agencies who can possibly provide the financial assistance you need.

Look on the back of your utility bill, there should be information regarding this. Times are difficult for many, and a hand up is nothing to be ashamed of.

It's not personal, that they want a deposit, it's business, due to slow payment history.
Posted by D. on 2011-04-01:
I agree with Skye...most utility companies have budget programs for low income customers. Call them and find out if you qualify.
Posted by D. on 2011-04-01:
I just checked their website and they DO offer help for low income...they state:

Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) and Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP)
EUSP is a state program designed to help qualifying limited-income customers pay the electric portion of their bills. MEAP provides a grant for qualifying limited income customers and is available once each heating season. However, customers may apply for either or both programs anytime during the year. The programs provide: bill payment assistance; arrearage retirement; and targeted weatherization services. Call 1-800-352-1446 for information. EUSP and MEAP applications and brochures are available for download from the Maryland Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP) Web site.

Here is the link if you need more info or phone numbers:


Good luck to you.
Posted by fkaiser on 2011-04-01:
Geez ppl some ppl have financial issues and its not a shame to receive a shut off notice some ppl have priorities like feeding their kids first gas for work etc...its not like she wasn't going to pay she just paid late like many of us do
Posted by D. on 2011-04-01:
FKaiser...no one said or even implied that there was any shame, in fact everyone seems to understand and has advised the poster to call and check into some programs they may offer that will help.
Posted by T on 2011-04-02:
fkaiser -> the OP shouldn't feel shame, but utilities shouldn't feel like they have to provide service for free, either. There has to be a happy medium. Hopefully they can take advantage of an assistance program.

From their user id, readytoretire, hopefully they can make some positive changes to their situation sooner rather than later.
Posted by summerlee on 2011-04-18:
I am on the budget program and my bill is 257.00 a month and I am in the same boat so I know how people like me feel. I was laid off for 2 1/2 years and my son and husband north where laid off for over a year and yes we got behind on our bill and have always got the bill paid even if it was late and did pay a late payment but have never had our services turned off. It was hard enough paying our house payment and not losing out home. So I understand they have to get there money and they do get it and the late payment money also. If you don't pay your bill by the shut off then turn the crap off then. I just wish the best for us all. There are other Companys out there and after this BGE might just lose some of there customer!
Posted by vmslady on 2011-06-08:
I just received a letter about sending a deposit because I have had several turn off notices but have always paid the bill. Years ago I paid a deposit that has followed me to all of my addresses including the new address. I spoke with a BGE representative yesterday he at first said that the deposit must have been refunded back to me or places on a bill. I explained to him that neither was the case. In the past I have tried to get my due date moved so my payment would be easier for me. I think that if the bill is barely being paid how are you surpose to pay an extra 300.00 deposit? I never received anything about this new policy. I was given a number to call a lead investigator to see if the deposit had been posted to my account previosly. With the economy the way it is these big companies should be paying the consumers for utilizing them!!
Posted by Gooddude on 2011-08-02:
Same thing just happened to me. I just paid the 3rd and final installment of a $500 deposit. I have a history of cut off notices but always paid before the date and I've never been cut off. I've been a loyal customer for 12 years
Posted by Winter on 2012-02-15:
My question is what happens if you pay the security deposit then within the 12 months you get another turn off notice? BGE will not change the due date and I have asked several times.. they are such a rip off anymore. its gotten awful!

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