Early Contract Terminations

July 1, 2015, Department, by Hayley MacDonell

Have you noticed an increase of assertive salespeople targeting customers of energy suppliers through mailings, phone calls and door-to-door soliciting? “Slamming” occurs when a misleading salesperson obtains a customer’s electricity account number, and then switches the account to a different provider without the customer’s knowledge or consent. This effectively terminates the customer’s existing contract. Awareness and education are the best defenses against the costs and hassles associated with slamming.

Best Practices

To prevent early electricity provider contract termination from happening to your park or recreation center: 

 

  • Make your employees aware that misleading calls and visits from nefarious actors are possible. Even employees who are not authorized to make contract decisions can be hounded into providing confidential information.
  • Protect your energy bills and account numbers as you would any confidential business information. Your electricity account number is often the only requirement for an unauthorized supplier switch.
  • Beware of an energy salesperson who claims to represent the electric utility. Anyone who works for the electric utility already has digital access to your account information. 
  • Beware of promotional offers that require your signature or verbal commitment.
  • Advise your employees to block salespeople from engaging with other employees.
  • Ask callers if they are properly licensed with the state public utility commission. 
  • Request to be removed from call lists. 
  • Review your electricity bill each month for unauthorized charges or changes.

 

Customer Story: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“A few weeks ago, I handed over my electricity bill to a man who claimed to represent my local utility company. He offered to evaluate my electricity bill as a complimentary service. A few weeks later, my electricity supplier unexpectedly dropped my account. Without my consent or knowledge, the man had obtained my account number from my bills and canceled my electricity supply contract. I was at risk of being charged termination fees for canceling my supply contract before its expiration date. I had no idea that the contract was canceled.

APPI Energy and my supplier worked together on my behalf to reenroll my electricity supply contract, saving me thousands of dollars in early termination penalties. I determined the name of the company that canceled my electric supply without my knowledge. I reported the company to the Better Business Bureau, and sequentially learned that the man who misrepresented himself was no longer with the energy company.”

Since 2011, NRPA has endorsed APPI Energy to provide data-driven procurement and consulting solutions to members. For more information click here or contact APPI Energy at 800.520.6685.

Hayley MacDonell is NRPA’s Membership Programs Manager.