Thursday, August 26, 2010

Someone at National Grid knows how to party

This story relates to National Grid's rate increase request for natural gas delivery in NYS and MA, so it doesn't direct impact many NNY residents that live off the natural gas grid, but it does speak to the sloppy accounting and arrogance of a firm that asks for 4-11% rate hike in this economic climate.

"regulators reviewing a proposed rate hike there found the utility essentially passed dozens of questionable employee expenses on to consumers during 2008-09, including:

$35,700 to send a senior vice president’s two daughters to the private British School of Boston;
$30,000 for an executive’s personal medical bills;
$4,363 for an employee’s trip to President Obama’s inauguration;
$4,000 for company Christmas cards;
$1,602 to matte and frame pictures for Grid President Tom King’s office;
$1,433 for Rubik’s Cubes used in a team-building exercise; and
$1,254 to ship a wine collection across the ocean for a British employee who transferred stateside.

No employee expense was too small, with National Grid even passing on costs for $2 coat-check fees and $3.50 bottled waters."

These are all legitimate business expenses but it's clear that they shouldn't be the basis for another rate hike from National Grid. In their defense, they did eliminate these costs once they were made aware of the issue but the fact that the costs made it to the regulator would cause me to question every filing from National Grid.

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FACT of the DAY: Over the past 2 months there have been between 0 and 500 new construction homes sold in the US for over $750k and only 1,000 units were sold nationally over $500,000. I think local real estate appraisers might want to consider that fact before encouraging homeowners to list their shack for $1 million in our little slice of heaven.

* note this is for new construction, not existing home sales over $750k.

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Cheers!

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