We have heard it a hundred times from frustrated customers sick of getting random high-pressure sales calls from people they don’t know regarding reducing their energy costs. Have you ever found yourself in one of these situations?
Has a high-pressure sales person ever called you offering a drastically lower supply rate?
Sometimes suppliers use the marketing tactic of offering extremely low introductory rates and increasing the rate in the months after the introductory period ends. Introductory Rates are defined by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) as follows:
“For new customers, an all-inclusive per kWh price that will remain the same for a limited period of time between one and three billing cycles followed by a different fixed or variable per kWh price that will be in effect for the remaining billing cycles of the contract term, consistent with terms and conditions in the supplier’s ‘disclosure statement.‘”
It may not seem like a huge deal, but when suppliers use this marketing tactic, you could lose hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the rate increase and how long you remain in the contract. This can be a pricey lesson to learn on your own, so let us arm you with some valuable knowledge. If you find yourself on another high-pressure energy sales call, keep these things in mind:
- You do not have to say yes over the phone. To truly protect yourself, require them to email or fax you a contract so that you can review it.
- Ensure the price you are receiving is “fully bundled” or “all-in” and will remain the same throughout the term of the agreement.
Have you ever received a notice from the utility stating you have changed suppliers even though you never signed up for something new?
This tactic is called Slamming. The PUCO defines slamming as, “Switching electric or natural gas service to another supplier without a customer’s approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are enforced by the PUCO.”
When this happens, you have the PUCO on your side to protect you. They have created the requirement for the utility to notify you, and if you are a residential or non-mercantile customer (using less than 700,000 kwh or 500 mcf annually), you can rescind this agreement within seven days of receiving the notice. You do not have to talk to the supplier who slammed you. You can simply follow the instructions on the utility’s notice and you’re all set! This rescission period works when you signed an agreement and are having second thoughts as well. It’s not only for situations of illegal slamming. If you feel pressured to sign or after thinking about it simply decide it isn’t a good fit for you to switch, you can rescind without any penalties.
Have you ever wondered if there is someone that can help you sort through this confusing situation?
You are in luck! There are a number of advocates looking out for you if you know where to find them.
For emergencies or questions about your utility bill, use this directory to find the proper person to call.
In addition, if you are a current Community Energy Advisors customer or member of any of our affiliated affinity organizations, simply reach out to your representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the necessary resources to help protect your home and business.