North Carolina says: “Burgers Bad & Dangerous. Monopolies Good & Encouraged.”

So I’ve been in North Carolina for a few years now. I moved here from Arizona, which (as a State) has some issues, but at least they err on the side of staying out of my personal life choices. Yes, I’d argue that riding a motorbike without a helmet is silly, but in AZ, if that’s your thing, you go right ahead.

After I arrived here, I was shocked to find out that in the great state of NC, you can’t order a medium rare hamburger at most restaurants. The state mandates that unless the restaurant grinds their own beef, you can only order medium.

Why the legislature wasted time on such silliness is beyond me. But allegedly it’s for my own protection.

It’s nice to know they care.

Oh, except while it’s fine to jump in on irrelevant details of my health and well-being, they’re sure as heck not going to mess with any established monopolies that might like to rip money from my wallet without so much as a thank you.

For example, much of the area is exclusively serviced by Time Warner Cable. I pay more here than I ever did in Phoenix for service that is generally slower and definitely less reliable. But I can live with that…

A far worse example is the monopoly held by Progress Energy, our non-friendly local power company who are the sole provider for the area.

I’m currently in the process of applying LCLSMF to my life (less complications, less stress, more fun), as a result of which I’m moving. The new place will be half the size of my current one.

Progress will not connect the power at the new place without a $350 deposit, paid in full upfront. The deposit is regardless of credit history. They claim it’s based on 2 months of utils at the new property, but as I said, it’s half the size of my current place and I’ve pretty much never paid more than $170 for a month of electricity in my current home.

If I don’t pay, I don’t get electricity. If I don’t pay before I move in, they hit me with a reconnect fee too. There’s no assistance, no terms, nothing whatsoever in the way of help. They also won’t connect on a weekend, so I have to pay for extra days before I actually move in. And they hold the deposit for TWO YEARS.

Unbelievable.

Thanks NC. Great to know you’re looking out for the consumer in these difficult times.

P.s. Slow blogging lately as there’s been a lot going on. I have a bunch of things to talk about that hopefully I’ll get to in the coming weeks…

3 comments for “North Carolina says: “Burgers Bad & Dangerous. Monopolies Good & Encouraged.”

  1. July 8, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Nicholas, this is Scott from Progress Energy. I read this post and realized there might be some confusion about our deposit policy. Our policy states: “A deposit may be required of a customer to establish, maintain, or re-establish electric service in those areas where the customer fails to otherwise establish a satisfactory credit status. To establish satisfactory credit status with Progress Energy, one must reside in the same location for 12 consecutive billing cycles, with no more than two late payments in the last 12 months.” Once an account meets these requirements, the deposit will be refunded along with accrued interest.

    If you would like to speak with us again about your account, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Carolina.Support@pgnmail.com. Our team is standing by to help answer your questions.

    • July 9, 2009 at 1:28 am

      Thanks for your comment, but there's no confusion here — perhaps there is some with your customer service folks??

      I've been a good customer for more than 2 years at my current location and I was still charged the $350 deposit referenced in my post. The customer service rep told me it could be held for up to two years regardless of whether or not I paid my bill on time.

      My average bill is definitely below $165 in my 3000 sq. ft home. The place I'm moving to is 1450 sq. feet. There is simply no way we'll be spending anything close to your suggested average.

      I appreciate that these are difficult times, but I find it outrageous that Progress can hold me to ransom for such an absurdly large deposit that you hold on to for a ridiculously long period of time.

      Furthermore, the customer reps I spoke to were completely unhelpful, bordering on rude. When I asked what I was supposed to do if I couldn't come up with $350 up front, the answer I was given was "not have electricity".

  2. Robert
    November 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    My name Is Robert
    I am up to hear with Progress Energy.My power is about to be disconnected I have tried several times to make payment agreements I have made regular payments but it not enough I had to pay A large down payment 500.00$ this is more than what I owe they still are going to shut me off. Do to the fact that Progress has A monopoly I cant have any other option .this is not rite this company needs to be audited for fair business practice .I think I will call the better businessburoe if enough people call maybe some thing can be done?

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