Door-to-Door Marketers Offering Lower PG&E Bills

The City of Watsonville has received calls from concerned citizens in the Bay Village and Pajaro Village neighborhoods reporting that independent natural gas companies’ sales representatives have been going door-to-door offering cheaper natural gas. One resident reported that a sales representative said he was representing “the City and PG&E.”  This is incorrect as the City does not endorse any natural gas provider. It was also reported that by a resident that it was difficult to terminate the contract with the new gas provider when the service was not longer wanted.

Due to deregulation of natural gas sales several years ago, it is now legal for independent companies to make wholesale purchases and then to sign up customers to buy the natural gas at a retail price.  Depending on many factors, the new companies may or may not be able to deliver a savings.

Residents are should be cautious when approached by anyone selling services door-to-door.  In other areas, there have been complaints about aggressive marketing including demands to see the resident’s PG&E bill along with promises for substantial savings on utility bills.  Residents are advised to not allow marketers to review their  natural gas bill unless the resident has made the decision to switch to that gas supplier. By sharing sensitive material such as their name, address or account number, customers may place themselves at risk of having their service switched without their knowledge.

Should a resident choose to enter into a contract with an independent natural gas supplier, they should seek the following information:

  • Length of the contract;
  • Whether the agreement will be automatically renewed upon completion;
  • Whether automatic renewal would subject customers to a higher rate;
  • Whether the contract calls for a fixed (i.e., a set rate that is locked in for a period of time) or variable rate (one that fluctuates with market prices, usually on a monthly basis); and
  • Whether any additional fees, such as for enrollment, transfer or cancellation, may be charged.

Residents with concerns about door-to-door solicitation can call Nancy Lockwood at the City of Watsonville Public Works and Utilities Department at 768-3103.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 8:30 am and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Community Development, Economic Development, Fire Department, Homepage News, Housing, Human Resources, Mayor, Parks & Community Services, Planning Commission, Police Department, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.