Customer Questions Company's Donation Process
Starting in November, one local company will automatically round up customer bills to the next dollar. The difference will be donated to local charities through grants.
But some question first, why don't the companies just donate their own money? And in this case, why don't they at least let their 38,000 customers decide up front about whether they even want to participate?
Donnie Beard was one of those questioning his power company.
“They do a really good job, but I don't think they should take from anybody without their permission,” he said.
The difference will be donated to local charities through grants. Beard found out about the program through South River's member magazine. He said he doesn't like that customers will be charged the difference unless they they "opt-out."
“It surprised me when I seen it. It really did,” Beard said.
Beard said he feels the program should instead be "opt-in." He said the amount of money, at most $11.88 per year, is not a big deal. He said it's the principle.
“We don't want anybody to participate that they don't want to” said Catherine O’ Dell, spokeswoman for South River Electric.
South River Electric spokeswoman Catherine O'Dell said South River researched similar programs throughout the country.
“We did look at the Opt In versus Opt out. The programs that have an opt in have about 17 percent participation. The programs with opt out have about 20 percent participation or higher,” O’Dell said.
“You’re telling your customers how they’re going to spend their money,” WRAL’s Monica Laliberte questioned.
“Not necessarily. We're giving them the option to say no. And so we want, we're giving them the option to help in a much bigger way than they possibly could do on our own” O’Dell said.
She said they're doing everything they can to get the word out, and so is Beard.
“It's just not having control. That's the main thing. Let me donate what I want to donate," he said.
The bottom line, we all just want to get the word out so that consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to participate.