I was a victim of a utility scam last autumn 2103.
The man was dressed wearing a yellow hard hat and sporting a utility belt and a badge. He was carrying a clip board with papers on it and had a cell phone .
He claimed to be from Major Energy - and was part of a new program involving customers and required seeing things in person and visiting in person. He asked that I verify my name, social security number and to show him both my electric bill and my gas bill.
I was told that by cooperating I would get a 40-60% reduction on my utilities bills.
What happened instead, was my electric was not affected. Seems the electric company is on top of the situation and this man's company did not get to access my electric bill and become listed as a provider. I have copied the page from the electric company site below as it has excellent information that I had missed earlier and might help you to avoid being ripped off as well.
It was with my Gas company that I ended up getting scammed and ripped off~!!
I was promised a 40-60% reduction in my gas bill and since it was just before winter, I didnt notice what they did since they lowered the budget plan a little and their name now appeared as the supplier of my gas while my gas bill was still sent and maintained by my then and still current gas company.
My spring bill has arrived and is noticeably nearly double what the bill was last year. My daughter told me about going to the back of the bill and looking for the 'ccf rate'
Last years rate which is still current with the gas company is :
the Major Energy Services rate now there is :
I called the Natl Fuel Gas co and they told me that Major Energy Services has been getting away with charging me 90% more for my gas bill than it should be~!! They only collect for them so I was told to call Major Energy and cancel their service and then I would be reverted to Natl Fuel. Meanwhile I have nearly $1,000- bill with Major Energy because of their inflation of the 'ccf= rate'
I called Major Energy and they said they were sorry and not responsible for what the field reps told me and that they could not adjust the bill to the previous level. According to the PUC however they are responsible for what their sales or field reps promise, so I do have a case and it is now opened. They say it will take up to 30 days to resolve with major Energy.
Meanwhile Major Energy said they will discontinue being my provider and it will take up to 2 billing cycles to see their name removed from my bill.
Natl Fuel warns me however that Major Energy can demand full payment of the inflated value at the time they disconnect from my bill, which may pose other problems with service,. If the PUC obtains a favorable response, the rate will be re-written to the Natl Fuel's rate as it was when I was first lied to and tricked into agreeing to allow Major Energy to become my so called 'supplier'....so buyer beware~! They werent the Obama program that was supposed to be lowering my bill, rather they were unscrupulous scammers who wormed their way onto my bill to charge me more for what i was using .
I contacted PUC Public Utilities Commission and filed a complaint. I also contacted the Pa Attorny General Consumer Affairs and have a pending complaint to file with them as they are now sending me the paperwork to fill out. While normally pretty careful about scammers - this one got me~!!
I am writing this to warn others researching online about utility scams and hope this can serve as a warning to those who may face this situation and have the foresight to check online before signing up.
While I hope to have it all resolved and my bill rewritten to the right amount, its a hassle and I can only wonder how many others out there have become possible prey to these sort of middle men energy bandits out there.
Read the West Penn's site warning below and see if anyone l ike this has approached you , that you will know what to do about it now. Scammers modify their actions. In my case it was to sign me up with a middle man gas provider that uppedmy bill 90% over the winter. For others it could be to steal your identity and ruin your credit. There are many ways a scammer can reuse or sell your info that will cost you money~!!
FirstEnergy Warns Customers of Nationwide Utility Scam
Phony Bill Payment Scheme Poses Identity-Theft Risk
AKRON, Ohio, June 7, 2012 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is warning customers of its 10 electric distribution companies to be wary of bogus claims that President Obama will help pay utility bills for residential customers through a special federal program.
Reported in numerous states, the scam involves customers being asked to provide sensitive information, such as social security numbers, which presents an identity-theft risk. The scammers then supply customers with a phony bank routing number to pay their bills. However, no government dollars are applied to customer accounts and the full balance remains due.
Scam victims have been recruited by individuals going door-to-door, making phone calls, posting fliers and using email, text-messaging and social media. FirstEnergy encourages its customers to be vigilant at all times and to notify local police if they believe they are a victim of this fraudulent scheme.
FirstEnergy offers these tips to help safeguard its customers from scams:
FirstEnergy utility employees do not ask for sensitive information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.
Customers should only use methods authorized by FirstEnergy to pay their electric bills
Don't allow persons claiming to be utility employees into your home without checking for proper identification
FirstEnergy utility employees always carry photo identification, and many of our field employees wear uniforms and drive clearly marked company vehicles
FirstEnergy utility employees typically visit a home only in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, do not allow the person through the door
To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a FirstEnergy utility employee, or for any other concerns, please phone our FirstEnergy operating company Contact Centers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the following numbers: Ohio Edison, 1-800-633-4766; The Illuminating Company, 1-800-589-3101; Toledo Edison, 1-800-447-3333; Met-Ed, 1-800-545-7741; Penelec, 1-800-545-7741; Penn Power, 1-800-720-3600; West Penn Power, 1-800-686-0021; Jersey Central Power & Light, 1-800-662-3115; Mon Power, 1-800-686-0022; and Potomac Edison, 1-800-686-0011.
To learn more about FirstEnergy visit www.firstenergycorp.com.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies comprise one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems. Its diverse generating fleet features non-emitting nuclear, scrubbed baseload coal, natural gas, and pumped-storage hydro and other renewables, and has a total generating capacity of nearly 23,000 megawatts.
CONTACT: Todd Meyers, +1-724-838-6650