Supposed “Utility Customer Notification”
October 30, 2014
VERY URGENT – Potential Scam!
Several Unit Owners and residents have reported receiving a piece of mail, with the Return Address: “Utility Customer Notification – Sign and return the enclosed form to run your home on clean energy.” It has a very official looking label, and enclosed is a form they are asking you to fill out, sign and return. Supposedly this will allow you to purchase energy from renewable sources, and in fact makes it sound like you’re flipping a switch and receiving your electricity fight from a windmill.
The envelope and letter look like this:
This is from a corporation, Ethical Electric, Inc., for which we can find no one who has experience with. Admittedly online they appear at first glance to be reputable enough, and they have a Better Business Bureau Rating of B+. However, usually when you get unsolicited invitations like this, they are worth ignoring. This one is no exception, in our opinion. The price they are quoting could double some electric bills and is only locked for 90 days, after which there is no control over how much they can charge you. The money may very well go to fund wind and solar energy projects. But your actually source of energy won’t change or be any different from any of your neighbors.
We asked for PTCA’s Utility Consultants with Prospect Resources to weigh in. They said, “This obviously would not be a smart move.” They gave me three reasons to be extremely cautious based on their review of the mailing:
1. Essentially there asking you to sign up with a new supplier, and one that is not vetted in the industry.
2. We can not be certain what is included in this rate, but presuming it’s just the supply rate and does not include utilities, the price is definitely higher. And that’s just for the first three months, beyond that, moving into the winter, the variable price will for sure rise. So it is very misleading.
3. Whoever signs up for a program like this will ultimately get the same energy that they did before. The grid does not distinguish between green and non-green energy. What happens is that essentially you’re paying for more generation of renewable energy that will be used somewhere. It does theoretically increase the use of renewable energy across the map somewhere, but not necessarily to anyone at Park Tower.
Our rep told me, “It definitely reeks of a scam like odor.”
It is potentially a scam as it is presented, and at the very least is dangerously misleading. It could be very expensive for anyone that fills this out and returns it.
We have also heard that folks are receiving phone calls regarding this, and it is possible you may get calls and mailings from other similar companies/electricity providers.
As with anything, buyer be aware and beware. At least do some research before making any decision like this.