Let me get right to the point. Since my dad passed in 2013, I’ve been keeping a close eye on my aging mother. If you’ve been reading this blog for a year, you may remember the post entitled ‘The Day I Snapped on Sista Girl over a Kilowatt Hour’ sharing the experience of discovering a young lady sitting at the kitchen table with my mother with PECO bills spread across the table. My mother believed the lady was from PECO and she let her in because she said she could save my mother money on her PECO bill.
Yes, I snapped and kicked her out the house, but before I did I specifically told her we are not switching to her company, not even if it’s going to save us a few dollars.
10 days later we received the letter from PECO that we were switched to her company.
Here’s the actual letters you get from PECO when you’ve been swithed
If you believe I snapped on her when she was in my mom’s kitchen, you can’t imagine how far I went when I called that company after they switched us. I then went through the steps to cancel their service and go back with PECO.
Here’s what happened since that time (thanks PECO for providing these dates at the library yesterday for me):
- 2011 – IDT Energy
- 2/7/18 – The date we were switched to Pennsylvania Gas & Electric (Sista Girl’s company)
- 7/12/18 – Switched to XOOM Energy
- 7/26/18 – Switched to Pennsylvania Gas & Electric again
- 9/14/18 – Switched to Spring Power & Gas
- 12/11/18 – Switched to Great American Power
- 3/13/19 – Switched to Pennsylvania Gas & Electric again
Does that look crazy to you? It should. In just over 1-year we have been switched 6 times and each time I had to go through the trouble of switching back to PECO.
Here’s the biggest problem. When I complain to the ‘authorities,’ nobody is alarmed at this situation. They always try to convince me…
- I gave permission to be switched either over the phone or when those annoying supplier reps come knocking at the door. That definitely is not the case as I know better than to do that and I’ve instructed my mother to hang up on them when they call and don’t let any more Sista Girls in the house.
- I can make my account ‘private’ with PECO so the suppliers can’t get my information. Did that after the first switch and we just kept getting switched.
- I’m told to call the PUC so they can do an investigation on the supplier who ‘allegedly’ switched us illegally.
- I’m told that it’s easy to identify on your PECO if you have an alternate supplier, which I discuss later in this post.
Fast forward to yesterday at Crozer Library where the PA Public Utility Commission and J. Lewis Crozer Library offered a FREE workshop to help customers SAVE MONEY ON UTILITIES yesterday. It was advertised as an opportunity to learn about the PUC Consumer Education programs, energy conservation and weatherization tips, utility assistant programs, and more!
I couldn’t wait to sit and chat with the PUC rep and bypassed everyone else to see them first. We had a long talk that started out like most others I have with ‘authorities’ trying to explain to me how the supplier situation operates, while I was trying to tell her how it’s flawed. She explained how they investigate supplier issues and have fined several of them for deceptive practices, and I explained that fining suppliers after they switched me doesn’t do anything for me if I don’t get any money, credit, or compensation for their misdeeds.
Let’s back up a week.
During the Walker ‘Baby’ Carter short film showing at MJ Freed last week the President/CEO of PECO was there. I brought this situation up with him asking what else I can do to try to stop the frequent unauthorized switches. He started down the usual path telling me how the supplier business works before giving me his card and asking that I email him so he could get his ‘guy’ on it. That ‘guy’ called me the next day and went down the usual path of why we were switched before coming up with the recommendation to get the bill out of my dad’s name and combine with my other PECO bill so it would be in my name. (I thought putting it in my mom’s name would solve the problem but he explained she’d still have the same account number and the unauthorized switching would probably continue).
When I shared with the PUC lady that putting the PECO bill in my name last week may solve my problem, she pretty much said that since my problem was solved, all it well.
See why I get so frustrated.
We’ll see if the problem is resolved when the bills start coming in my name.
If it’s as easy to for these companies to switch people as demonstrated by my parent’s PECO account, what these ‘authorities’ fail to acknowledge is the potential of many PECO customer are currently switched to another supplier and don’t have any idea they’ve been switched.
If you look back at the dates we were switched, you’ll see the first one occurred in 2011. My dad may have authorized that switch but he’s no longer here to confirm. If it wasn’t for Sista Girl sitting at my mom’s table telling us were already with a alternate supplier, and not PECO, we may have never known.
Even if you’re switched, you will get a PECO bill, not one from the company that switched you. Somewhere buried on your PECO bill tells you who your supplier is.
I believe a lot of people receive their PECO bill, open it, see the amount, see when it’s due, and pay it. No matter how easy PECO has designed the bill for us to read, I doubt if everyone is reading every line of every page, and if they are, they probably don’t understand it anyway.
Here’s one thing me and the PUC lady did agree on and I need your help to make it happen.
I told her that I’m going to tell you where to look on your bill to see if you’ve been switched. If you know you didn’t authorize the switch, I want to hear from you.
If I get 25 people to identify on their PECO bill that they’ve been switched for gas or electric, or both, I will send all 25 instances to the PUC for them to look into it.
The PUC does have the power to make this supplier network work better. I believe more people are being switched without their permission than the PUC or PECO are aware of because most people like you and me don’t know we’ve been switched.
I also believe it’s happening more in poor black communities and particularly to the older population. But I can’t prove it without your help.
If you find you’ve been switched, email me, call me, or send your information in the mail. If you need me to look over your bill for you, let me know.
Stefan Roots 610.453.6501 email@example.com PO BOX 55, Chester, PA 19016