Now we’ve seen everything…

20140703_extremecouponing_fbAt CUB, we’re a pretty thrifty bunch– after all, we spend our days helping consumers shave money off their bills–but even we think this might be going a little far:

Eligo Energy, an alternative electric supplier serving the Chicagoland area, is offering a Groupon for a $50 discount on electricity. We’ve heard of alternative electric suppliers mailing, phoning and going door-to-door to sell, but this is the first time we’ve seen something like this. (Groupon is a Chicago-based coupon website.)

Like any electricity supply offer, we warn you to proceed with caution to ensure you understand the full conditions of the contract.  The details on the Eligo Groupon are vague, except to say that you must sign a 12-month electrical services agreement through the company.  As of this writing, Eligo’s rates weren’t reported on Plug In Illinois–the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) official electric choice website–but CUB did a little digging to find the price:

Eligo offers a 5.5 cents per kWh rate for the first six months of the contract and then a variable rate for the remaining six months of the contract.  To cancel early, you must pay $20 per month left on your contract.

As we’ve warned before, variable rates–which change on a monthly basis–can be a risky bet for consumers.  We’ve heard from consumers on variable rate plans who saw their rates balloon to more than six times the rate of the regulated utility (for this reason, CUB recently called on the ICC to investigate these  plans).

While it’s not possible to predict what the rates will be in Eligo’s plan, we urge consumers  to carefully consider their options and read the fine print in any service contracts.  Don’t get lured in by any great “deals”– or Groupons– without knowing the full terms and conditions of the offer.

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4 Responses to Now we’ve seen everything…

  1. Pingback: The New York Renewables Game: Bait and Switch

  2. Please get me a copy of their terms and conditions and I will do a complete break-down for you. That is were is becomes a marketing “bate and switch”. That is with every service out there that is offering something “free”. Terms/Conditions and hidden legal back-doors.

    Energy “suppliers” will keep coming out of woodwork; and they have a right to in an open market. But, everyone will have to be careful, or just find the true source of protection and stay there.

    FYI: This is what their inquire form says:

    TCPA Disclosure: By submitting I hereby consent to receive autodialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing calls from or on behalf of Eligo Energy, LLC, or any of its affiliates, at the telephone number that I provided above, including my mobile or cellular number, if applicable. I further understand that my consent is not necessary in order to make a purchase from Eligo Energy, LLC or any of its subsidiaries.

    Also please read our Privacy Policy before submitting this form.

    I Agree, Get Started”

    Not to pick on them, but they look they are just marketing broker or multi-level sales channel. Just like Constellation, Ameren Energy Marketing, and so on say that they are marketing brokers. But this group promises they will collect your data for auto dial by them or other marketing partners or groups.

    It’s the wild west out there, and it is not going to change anytime soon.

    Terms, Conditions, and actual stability as a REAL Supplier are the only things that count.

    UEA

  3. Keith Campbell says:

    How can I find out if I’m a victim of T MOBILE cramming scam

    • Jim Chilsen says:

      Hey Keith: Just look at your bill. Do you see any odd charges for texting services, data, or anything that you don’t recognize? If you do, call the company (both T-Mobile and the cramming company) for an explanation. Call CUB, at 1-800-669-5556, and ask for Jim Chilsen if you have any further questions.

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