New York City residents are increasingly being scammed by energy brokers misrepresenting themselves as Con Edison and New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) employees.
The state of New York deregulated its electricity market in the mid-1990s. Since then, a total of 240 retail electricity providers now provide energy to state, according to the PSC. The large number of available providers has caused fierce competition in the market, and since energy brokers often work on commission, the competition has caused some brokers to resort to illegal means in order to gain new customers.
The scam tactics used vary but most are highly illegal. A common tactic is the claim that the broker is representing Con Ed or New York’s PSC. The scamming broker may convince an electricity customer that there is a “problem” with their current provider or that their utility, Con Ed, is mandating that the customer switch – and that the “representative” is simply there to help them switch.
Many customers are simply confused or misinformed, and make the switch at the request of the energy broker. Yet, some of these scammers have been reported to take the customer’s utility account number and switch the customer to the company the broker represents without the customer’s permission.
Scammed customers that were receiving their electricity supply from Con Ed find themselves locked into a contract with high penalty fees for cancellation, at high rate for up to two years. Those who have already chosen a retail electricity provider find themselves paying higher rates as well as cancellation fees from their current provider.
The PSC has stated that it receives complaints virtually daily, from all over the city. In response, representatives from the agency have claimed that a special task force is being formed to investigate the scams. Currently, the PSC fines companies that allow their brokers to participate in such practices, but as more complaints pile up, licenses to sell energy may be revoked in the future.
There is virtually no reason for a “representative” from Con Ed or the PSC to visit your home, let alone to sell you energy. Never give your account information to any persons visiting your home, and make sure you do your research before switching to any provider. Compare any provider’s rates with rates of others as well as what you are currently paying. You may want to use our FREE tool at the top of this page to compare providers in your area.
Here at ElectricityRates.com, we work hard to provide you with the best available plans from reputable providers. We do not represent any provider, so you can be rest assured that we will never try to convince you to switch to a certain one. We simply want to help you find the best rates from the best providers. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us or email us at email@example.com.
To file a report with New York’s PSC, call their hotline at 1-800-342-3377, or file a complaint online.