Please read this if you are considering switching your electric supply company to Energy Plus. (from original post on Feb 14, with minor accuracy revisions). The miles ain't worth it nor was the signing bonus that was given to me through Upromise.
Over two years ago I switched to Energy Plus after speaking to one of their sales people. They told me I should see and an average of 7% savings over my current supplier’s charges in addition to getting 3% back into my son's Upromise account as well as a $25 signing bonus that would also go into the Upromise account. I believed Energy Plus's representation and I signed up. I now regret it and partially blame myself because I didn't’ listen to my wife. My wife knew something was wrong. She pays the utility bills and on several occasions she had told me that the electric bills seemed really high as compared to the past. I dismissed her concerns with a statement like "energy is getting more expensive, don't worry we have a good deal". I now know what an idiot I was not to listen to her. Last week my wife insisted I call to have the meter checked because of how high the bill was. I did call, and was shocked when National Grid told me that in my most recent bill, I paid over 14 cents per KWH to Energy Plus when National Grid was charging a little over 5 cents.
I immediately called Energy Plus and spoke to a supervisor; this is where it gets interesting. The supervisor was apologetic and explained, that recently their cost had spiked but generally speaking, over time everything averaged out and that they offered competitive electric supply rates. I now know, that this word, "competitive” is a word Energy Plus uses a lot to cover their deception and presumably, walk the fine line of legality. Their idea and anybody else’s idea of competitive is quite different. The supervisor I spoke with did a quick review of my account and told me that indeed, over the last year I had paid a bit more than my original supplier would have charged but the year prior to that I had done well. He assured me that he would look at the last year of my bills and see if "some adjustment could be made".
While I was waiting for the supervisors call back, I did a bit of investigating myself. I googled "Energy Plus Scam" and was not surprised to see the page fill with complaints of overcharging, then I took a detailed look at my last 22 months of Electric bills, noted the amount charged by Energy Plus for my energy supply and called National Grid (previous supplier) and got the amount they had been charging during the same period. The result of this simple check dropped my jaw in disbelief. I had been taken to the cleaners. The firstmonth after signing was nearly identical to my previous supplier’s rate followed by a mere 24% overcharge and then for the next 20 months, Energy Plus overcharged me from 100% to 178% more each month than what I would have been charged if I had stayed with National Grid. Most of the months, the overcharge was between 130% and 170%. I called the Energy Plus supervisor back and asked him to look back a bit further than one year because his representation that the first year of their service, I had done well, was much like the original sales spiel, not true. The supervisor then told me that, I shouldn't forget, that all the while I had been benefiting from the 3% rebate back to my son’s Upromise account and that their rate had been clearly stated on my bill. He went on to say that I could have canceled at anytime, free of charge and that as it turns out their company isn't as competitive (there's that word again) in my area as they are in other areas. I again brought up the salesperson's original representation of saving an average of 7% annually on my electric supply. The supervisor acknowledged that this was a statement that his company’s sales people would sometimes make.
The following excerpt is from Energy Plus’s web site as of 2/13/2011, “As with all variable rate plans, your supply price may fluctuate on a monthly basis – lower or higher – to reflect the current state of each power market. However, in order to make an informed comparison to competitive offers, customers should average their bills over the course of several months or seasons, rather than taking a snapshot of just one month. Our goal is to be competitive with other energy suppliers and your local utility company over the long run, while offering valuable rewards.” Well, I would say that Energy Plus was not very good at meeting their goal. Notice again the frequent use of competitive in Energy Plus’s well crafted statement. The statement implies savings and in essence says you really can’t make an informed decision unless you wait through seasons of their inflated bills to make a decision. Rather insulting, Energy Plus doesn’t list any rates past or current on their web site for a good reason, it would limit the number of people they could take advantage of. They rather you take their word, regrettably I did.
The supervisor did get back to me that day, and offered me 600.00 and advised me that he didn't have to offer that. Six hundred dollars isn't close to what their overcharges amounted to. He went on to say that he was only able to go back one year in my account and that would be the best he could do.
I've severed my relationship with Energy Plus and have received the check.I will be filing a complaint with the NYS Public Service Commission (80 complaints in 2010) and perhaps the NYS Attorney General in the coming weeks. It is scary that a company like this can continue to do business in NYS. Why hasn't the NYS Public Service Commission shut them down? Why have the Energy Plus, executives not been prosecuted for fraud. I hope that Upromise has or is in the process of disassociating themselves from Energy Plus.
Bottom line; be very careful with these non-mainstream energy companies. As it turns out, (after checking Public Service Commission complaints) there are many companies like Energy Plus out there, preying on good people because they can. Somehow they are allowed to continue to do business, this is truly a buyer beware industry.
To add insult to injury, when I notified Upromise of this bad player affiliation that they have as mentioned by dozens of their members on the community board in the form of overcharging complaints, here is the exact text of my e-mail exchange with Upromise customer support. It doesn't give you the sense that Upromise does a lot of checking on the character of the companies they associate with or really care once it's pointed out to them as long as Upromise is getting some of the ill gotten booty.
Thank you for being a member of Upromise.
We apologize for the difficulty you experienced with the services of one
of our contributing companies. Unfortunately, we do not have any
control over the policies of our contributing companies. Contributing
Companies operate independently and are not under the control of
Upromise with respect to the Service or otherwise. However, we take
this as a feedback and would forward to the appropriate team of
Upromise. We appreciate your bringing this to our notice.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to reply to this e-mail
or contact Upromise customer care at (888) 434-9111, so that we may
assist you further. We are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM
to 9:00 PM EST.
The Upromise Customer Care Team
Did you know that when you open a High-Yield Savings Account by Sallie
Mae®, you can earn one of the best rates in the nation?
Learn more at http://www.upromise.com/member/deposit/savings.do
Original Message Follows:
Dear Upromise staff.
Please stop your association with Energy Plus. Just google Energy Plus
Scam to see all the complaints about their rates. They misrepresent the
savings in a huge way.The last 20 months I was overcharged by 100 to
over 175% as compared with the utility I had switched from for the same
variable rate product.
Your own community board tells story after story of the fraud that is
being perpetrated on your members. It is Upromise that introduced me to
Energy Plus.My post appears as user sge411.