Letter to the editor:
On behalf of Central Vermont Public Service, I am writing to apologize for our careless and insensitive conduct recently reported in connection with a proposed low-income subsidy program for electricity customers. Our general counsel, Dale Rocheleau, joins me in issuing this apology.
The news article said we opposed the program because we thought customers would use the money to buy cigarettes. This is not our position, and we did not make that claim. We did, however, engage in a round of legalistic debate from which such a conclusion might be made. We are very sorry we went down that road. It was a mistake that in no way reflects our position, or our respect for customers, especially to those facing hardships in paying their bills.
In the context of filing a series of probing questions to other attorneys in the “discovery” phase of this investigation, a CVPS attorney pursued a line of questioning that was insensitive and unnecessary. It was an error in judgment and we apologize on behalf of CVPS and our employees. We have formally withdrawn those questions, and have addressed the matter directly with the attorney involved.
We do not oppose the establishment of a subsidy program to assist our lowest-income customers in paying their bills. For over three years we have worked together with advocates, legislators and regulators to define the parameters of such a program, which we believe should be statewide, and administered and funded through state agencies. Meanwhile, at CVPS, we work hard to assist our customers with billing arrangements and have significantly beefed up our Shareheat program.
CVPS has worked hard to establish a positive relationship with our customers. We have no higher priority. Our employees are dedicated to customer service and I regret any negative connotations this error in judgment has had on them.
We are very troubled that a representative of the company chose to make this filing. That said we take full responsibility. We offer an unconditional apology to those offended by our actions.
President and CEO of Central Vermont Public Service