By Samantha Vercellino
CUB’s Consumer Advocacy Department handled a record 10,375 cases this year from Illinois residents who had questions or complaints about their cable, electric, natural gas, phone and water service.
That led to nearly $50,000 in savings for consumers who contacted CUB in 2014.
In a typical year, the department scrambles to answer up to 10,000 inquiries from people who call, write or visit the CUB office, but this year was even busier, thanks to the polar vortex and what it did to our electric and gas bills. The consumer advocates tackled issues that include anything from resolving billing errors to warning consumers of electric and gas rip-offs to educating consumers on various energy efficiency programs.
Consumer Advocacy Director Sandra Marcelin-Reme said her four-member team’s success stems from the desire to put consumers first.
“We’re committed to resolving cases because we don’t want consumers to be weighed down by their utility issues,” Sandra said. “I’m proud to be in charge of a team that cares so deeply for Illinois consumers.”
In all, the department saved consumers an estimated $45,600 in 2014. That includes the $1,500 error that Danielle Holmes erased from a retiree’s power bill. Danielle said the retired barber was relieved to speak to a real person–a CUB consumer advocate–and not the utility’s automatic phone system.
“Consumers like to know that real people are taking care of them,” Danielle said. “I do everything I can to help the people I’m on the phone with.”
If you have a complaint about your utility or cable service, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline, at 1-800-669-5556 for help.