Wilmette warns about dodgy electric power solicitations
AVOID THE TRICKS
WHO: Electric companies who want your business
HOW: Misleading calls or letters
WHAT TO DO: Give no information, contact the Illinois Commerce Commission
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:13AM
WILMETTE — Whether they come in the mail or over the telephone, don’t fall for misleading sales pitches from people asking for your electrical power business, village officials warned Wilmette residents this month.
The number of calls and mail solicitations asking village residents to switch their electrical supply from ComEd to other suppliers has shot up since Wilmette put the finishing touches on its new WP3 power-purchasing program, village spokesman John Prejzner said Friday.
Most come from representatives of actual power providers, Prejzner said, “but the problem is that the tactics that they use are misleading or unethical.”
Unwary customers could end up signed up with a provider they don’t want, he added.
In some instances residents have reported getting calls from people claiming they were from ComEd, asking for account numbers and offering lower rates to stay with the company. Those calls are actually from third party suppliers, Prejzner said.
Neither the village nor ComEd will contact residents by phone, and would never ask for customers’ account numbers. ComEd isn’t offering any discounts for staying with it.
If customers provide their current account number, callers could switch residents’ accounts to their company without permission, Prejzner said in a press release earlier this month. Residents should also be wary of any mailings that aren’t on village letterhead, he added.
Residents should ask callers to identify what company they work for, Prejzner said. If they don’t, or if they claim they work for ComEd or the village, residents should provide no further information – particularly their account numbers – and should report the call to the Illinois Commerce Commission at 1-800-524-0795, or at www.icc.illinois.gove/consumer/complaint/.
Some solicitations may be from legitimate companies, Prejzner said; residents can check what they’ve received against information about actual alternative suppliers, and compare those offers to what is available through the WP3 program, by visiting www.pluginillinois.org or www.wilmette.com/wp3.aspx.
After voters in April gave Wilmette the authority to seek a cheaper power provider than ComEd on their behalf, the village formed a consortium with Kenilworth and negotiated lower electrical power rates with power provider mc2.
Those rates should go into effect by early September at the latest. Both Wilmette and ComEd are sending information to residents on the changeover, including how to opt out of the program if residents want to.
For more information, contact Prejzner at 847-85-7502, or by email at email@example.com.