I wrote about this some time ago, but apparently the home energy scams are back!
I own small business (a glass fabrication shop) in WIlliamsburg, Brooklyn and just had an Advisors Energy Group, LLC walk in. My first warning should have been their inability to spell the name of their company correctly! FYI to the illiterate company---Advisers NOT Advisors! maybe that's the spelling in Nigeria or India or wherever they learned their hustle.
It wasn't until I quickly googled them that I saw all these warnings about "Nigerian ESCO scams" - luckily BEFORE i signed anything. Thanks fellow Posters! I called ConEd afterwards and you can choose them as your supplier through ConEd if you wish, after doing research, instead of in the 10 minutes rush that these reps put you through. I asked if I could submit the forms online or mail them back to him so I have some time to think about it and the rep said "sorry but no" - that's the one clear sign that it's a scam. I'm glad that there are so many warnings online about this! Much appreciated! Not surprising, some of those sales pitches you get about switching your energy provider are actually scams. I want to pass along a warning on the scams and pass along my own view of a legit energy choice.From Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights (a group I was not previously aware of, and thanks to Park Slope Neighbors for pointing them out) comes this info on a scam hitting New Yorkers (PDF): As a result of the deregulation of our local power companies, you can choose your third-party energy supplier through Con Edison or National Grid. Dont allow a stranger to Force you to choose through deceptive, coercive or even illegal sales techniques. There has been an epidemic of local residents being intimidated into changing their provider due to misrepresentations by third-party sales staff of regional energy service companies (escos) going door-to-door claiming to save you money on your electric or gas bill. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!Heres how not to get scammed and escos slammed if you are visited or called by a sales RepResentative claiming to work For a utility company.
1. Know the scam: ESCOS slamming begins when a representative of an ESCOS such as Advisors Energy either misrepresents him/herself (Hi, I work for or with Con Ed/National Grid) OR misrepresents his/her intent (Show me your Con Ed/National Grid billI want to save you money.)
2. Know the slam: ESCOS slamming happens when a third party providers sales reps (usually door-to-door or cold calling salespeople) entice you into signing up for their service (e.g., Advisors Energy misrepresents itself as being a direct provider to energy companies and thus if you buy direct from them, you will see a 7%++ reduction on your energy bill) OR sign you up for their service without your permission, by obtaining your personal information (name, address, Con Ed account number) or even by forging your signature. In many cases, instead of a reduction, you will see an increase in your monthly bill by $100++ or much more.
3. Know your rights: It is your choice to use a third-party energy supplier and only your choice (for more info, visit poweryourway for a list of ESCOS and options. If you get pressured into switching to a third-party provider, Just say no. If you were pressured to sign up with a different provider, feel you were mislead and signed up or were switched to a different energy company without your permission (slammed) call the number on your Con Edison or National Grid bill immediately. You can refuse the service over the phone. You may still need to call the ESCOS to confirm the change has been made. Do it immediately!
4. Take action: Even if you have not been scammed or slammed, you can take immediate control of your energy accounts by asking for an escos freeze on your accounts, requiring any changes to your account to come from you, not from a third-party ESCOS. If you have been scammed or slammed, request the ESCOS freeze immediately once you have restored Con Ed or National Grid as your energy provider.
5. File a complaint: If you have been scammed or slammed, by Advisors or any other ESCO scammer you can file a complaint and make a difference.
Complaints can be filed with:Better Business Bureau http://welcome.bbb.org/NYS Public Service Commission http://www.dps.state.ny.us or 1-800-342-3377Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protectionhttps://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/