After a 115 percent in complaints over the year regarding alternative electric suppliers, CUB issued a consumer alert this week about the worst deals in the market. The alert included a survey asking consumers their impressions of alternative suppliers.
First off, we want to congratulate Kenneth W. of Belleville for winning our survey drawing. He will receive 2 LED light bulbs that have a combined $200 money-saving potential. Thanks for your support, Kenneth!
Reading CUB’s survey results, we discovered that 43.3 percent of our 1,112 respondents were currently signed up with an alternative supplier. Of those enrolled, roughly two-thirds described their experiences as “good.” That reflects what has been the best bet for consumers in electric competition: municipal aggregation, where community leaders negotiate power prices with an alternative supplier on behalf of residents.
Sixty-four percent of respondents also reported having received an alternative supplier’s sales pitch over the phone or at the door. We suspected this high rate, which is why CUB has warned consumers to beware of sales representatives claiming to be from the “electric company.” While door-to-door pitches are not necessarily bad, it’s important to never give out your account number or power bill to anyone who asks for it in case that person is trying to “slam” you–sign you up for an offer without your permission.
Survey respondents had a lot to say about these offers:
- “They guaranteed a lower rate. When I asked if the rate could change, that’s when they started hem – hawing and couldn’t give me a straight answer so I sent them packing.”
- “They are lying to consumers. They stated that the municipal aggregation deal is over (it was recently re-upped) and offered a rate that is worse than Ameren’s, almost 7 cents per KWH.”
- “I have had maybe 20 to 25 people come to the door. They are hucksters. They all demand or try to sell you on the idea that they are making sure that ComEd is doing the right think and that they need/have to see your bill. They vary from pushy to downright rude when you refuse.”
Again, not all offers are bad, but these savvy Cubbies show us that it’s important to be a questioning and informed consumer. For more information, visit CUBSmartPower.com!