Nashville Electric Service Donates To Charity With Customers' Money, But Not Their Permission

Nashville Electric Service (NES) decided it would be a good idea to round up each customer’s bill to the nearest dollar, then take that extra change to donate to charity. It’s a great idea, and since the total amount donated per year can’t exceed $11.88, it’s not a hardship on most people. But there are a few problems. First, NES chooses the charities, if that matters to you. What’s more troublesome is that NES plans to opt-in every customer when the program begins on January 2009 without asking for explicit permission—if you pay your electricity bill through NES, you’ll donate to their charities next year, thank you very much.

We know running a regular enrollment would be a lot more expensive and generate a much smaller pool of participants, but it’s really the only way to collect donations. Is it even a donation if it’s taken from you without your permission first?

Sharon tipped us to the scheme:

[On] Oct 1, [NES] raised all of our rates 20%, but I guess they didn’t think that was good enough. In a bill I opened up today at work, there was a little piece of paper inside with information on it about a new program they have called *change for charity*. Normally I take the bill out and throw away all that other stuff cuz I figure if there is something I SHOULD know, it would be on the bill, but I guess I am gonna have to start reading everything in there now.

This new program is where they take money and donate it to charities of their choosing which is all fine and dandy BUT it’s our money and we weren’t even asked if we want to contribute.

Personally, I will donate to who I want to donate to and that is the part that gets me—had I not read that [bill insert] like probably most people don’t, I wouldn’t have known about this.

If you don’t want to participate, click here to find an online form and phone number.

“Change for Charity” [NES] (Thanks to Sharon, David, and Eric!)
(Photo: Getty Images)