Henrietta, N.Y. --- Following this 13WHAM News Your Stories report last week on Energy Service Companies or ESCO’s we heard from dozens of viewers relaying similar stories. The emails poured in from Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, and Monroe Counties and each person described an aggressive sales representative who either knocked on their door or called them at home.
Chris from Gates told us a sales rep "must have asked at least 2 or 3 times" for his utility bill and spoke about wanting to take it back to his office.
Rob from Caledonia described a face-to-face encounter he had with a rep and said he "did not like the intrusion at (his) home."
Marge of Williamson writes that she and her husband asked a rep to leave and "he began to call my husband vulgar names...out of fear for what this man could or would do...I called 9-1-1"
The sales reps these folks describe are looking for information on your utility bill that will allow them to add you as a consumer to their energy service.
There are plenty of ESCO’s to choose from and by visiting this website hosted by the NYS Public Service Commission you can enter your zip code and find out everything you need to know about each of them. In Henrietta for example customers can choose from 22 different electric suppliers and 21 different gas suppliers.
The billing and delivery is still done by the incumbent utility in each region, RG&E or NYSEG for example. But these ESCO’s can offer customers various choices (Green Energy) and pricing options (savings) that could be of interest. What the website won’t tell you is which of these ESCO’s employ sales representatives that use some of the aggressive tactics described by customers we heard from.
"If someone knocks on your door and is aggressive and starts asking for documentation and information and then tells you I got the best deal in the world switch over right now, I'm going to slam that door so hard that person is going to have a red nose," former Assistant Attorney General and consumer advocate Carlos Rodriguez said of these ESCO’s. "When I was at the Attorney General's Office I got a call from the mayor of a town south of here telling me that there was a company going door-to-door and targeting seniors and that really gets me mad when they do that."
Attached to this report are two items that should interest you as a consumer. The first is a copy of the NYS Public Service Commission’s “ESCO Consumers Bill of Rights.”
The second is submitted to us by a Sales Rep from Ambit Energy and it offers viewers and readers yet another perspective in this ongoing coverage of ESCO’s and how they behave in this community. This rep is not making a sales pitch, nor does 13WHAM in any way endorse or support his company. In the interest of full disclosure they are not advertisers of 13WHAM and it’s been explained to us that this is one ESCO, of perhaps many, that do not allow advertising.