Friday, January 16, 2015

Who are These Electric Suppliers?

Once again, a relative thought I could assist in this just because I studied electrical engineering. A relative received a call from an energy supplier and was not sure if that was her electric company (ie energy provider). She thought she heard a different name at the start of the call but then they kept saying her provider's name. She was confused on what the difference was between a supplier and a provider.

I was confused too as the terms does sound very similar so google I went (I never understand why people just don't do this before calling). So I find that the suppliers are basically resellers of energy. All the infrastructure and maintenance is still done by the provider. The provider being the typical company that provides your energy.

The savings that was given was about 20%, but the supplier's telemarketer was very pushy about getting voice authorization... because it is so obvious that people should just sign up. No information on contract or fees or anything. They also called me at a bad time (my relative forwarded the call... sadly my private number now on another calling list that will probably never be removed), so I was trying to get off for a meeting. They kept pushing that it will only take 2 minutes to authorize while I am trying to say that I need to do more research before doing so and this lasted another 15 minutes!!! I felt too invested to hang up at this point but I should have.

After finally hanging up, I did more research and I suppose it was a good deal but her electric bill was already pretty low so the savings did not seem worth the hassle of switching to a company that would use such unscrupulous tactics to get someone to sign up. There are many things the supplier claimed that basically everything will be the same but I could not find any reviews online so I didn't think it was worth the risk.

They may be a legit company. They are on the list of licensed supplier in the state. Even then, there are so many terrible practices that can used to just annoy you to no end with just billing alone much less if there are other problems. I cannot say if suppliers do these things but could easily be done as you do read about them in other industries. I also had one where the vendor never stopped billing/charging my credit card even after I called and even went onsite a couple times. Eventually, I just called the credit card company and blacklisted them, and fortunately my money back. But usually utility companies require direct payment from bank or debit cards where you won't have that extra level of protection. Even then, it is such a hassle to manage.

So for a company to have to call and pressure the person to switch (especially not willing to provide written form of the agreeement/contract), this deal is just not worth it to save a couple dollars.

Reference

http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/saving-energy/should-I-switch-electric-suppliers/#.