Charlie Harak (National Consumer Law Center, Electricity Suppliers)

Charlie Harak (National Consumer Law Center, Electricity Suppliers) by The Financial Exchange


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Many of you may have been approached by an alternative electricity supplier I have been approached truck and I've talked about right I think he was approached by a number of occasions. We're joined now by Charlie Harris he's the senior energy attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston Massachusetts joins us today to. Hopeless be where if you will I Charlie area. Are buried or you. Glad to have you aboard a day I've read the story today in the paper. As a way to find somebody can help us out but how does this whole thing work I don't have to do with deregulation of electricity supplies but. How does this competitive supply program work. Well it used to be that you could only buy everything related to electric supply from your local company let's say Boston it has been you know a dictator. Who can also was the wires that celebrity electricity the billing the customer service but also the actual electricity itself. No doubt you can buy the electricity separately and have it delivered by a local company. So what are my options as consumer very they had a white Knoll. What my knee where I can buy this front and how to I know who's legitimate not legitimate. Well. Certainly if you can can we you'll get the phone calls aren't getting the phone calls that they urgent that you call me. So that we can discuss your electric account so and I think everyone in Massachusetts has been bothered by the calls that also by people who actually go to work door. And the question of what to look out for rights say you look out for all of these competitors suppliers because. Even the ones who were legitimate that is they're not engaging in anything. Unclear practically are dwindling by the that are more expensive than staying with your local utility company. But the whole appeal like thought was Stacy you know because they're sales pitch Charlie is all will will save your money will weaken Saudi electricity for 30% last is that not true. I'm basically it's not true. We had information from Massachusetts and other states in Massachusetts. During the summer months when your local companies. Prices are lower that their ports part of it is considered its suppliers to beat that lower priced. About 90% of the people who lose and they're putting more than that they're just stayed with the local companies in the winter months when your local companies prices higher. And so it's a little easier for the competitive supplier to beat the price more than 50% of the people. Still are worse plus switching. And the other really important to know is you know barrier financial gutsy you know kind of upside risk in downside risk. The people who really went very small amount they might they 3% or 4% to 5% the people who lose sometimes find that it will have doubled when it's which stoked. It took very risky market to the end I would suggest is that. In western the kind of person who exists in volatile stocks if you watched. Frequently. Europe should be wary of getting into the competitive supply market because it poses somewhat similar. Downside risks of really being at a much worse situation. You know it's interesting you bring that up because the one of my credit cards break it frequent flier mileage and it was American Airlines. They solicited me. To switch to I think it was it may have been in RG I can't remember who who are the companies that are trying to sort of like how would week. Note to identify and no energy came up but are there other companies as well Charlie. There are vet said in theory the license companies I have to look to dispel aspect a lot of them only. Are in the commercial market that is selling competitors apply to businesses were turned out you know hospitals and universities and industrial companies they can't save a lot of money it's part have a competitive. Market works. But they're all or most of them are on the department of public utilities web site that globe story actually peddling. To the web site that inning when Google's department of public utilities the state agency that regulates utility companies. You can find I believe. All the companies in terms of who's licensed and and companies can voluntarily post their prices have for many of the companies you can also just either current prices the problem is our networks it I don't believe you can see. The distribution company's current pricing have to call up your local company whether that's National Grid or ever source or by. Or units. Okay so for those basic consumer notre somebody who lives on the eighth or somebody who lives in Boston or anywhere in New England. I think generally speaking we're talking residents not commercial now they generally. Better off just buying it from their own utility company is supposed to going through one of these says would you 67 or seven. Is that seventy or eighty competitors suppliers there's a lot of that he would have to do a lot of homework about again. Of this certainly heard yet but a lot of them just are in the commercial space I don't know of the number that are trying to stop. A two residential customers but you know we've heard probably about it doesn't they considered that with selling residential that's probably more. And yeah I've been asked that question anytime by my friends and I it. In what you wanna spend a lot of time watching that competitive suppliers price as it changes. And watching your local distribution companies price as it changes you're probably gonna wind up worse off over time you me. For a six month introductory period save by percent but there on the road you mean like that that cost goes up significantly. Because a lot of these companies. Happy to decent rate we all know that he's really compare those kinds of product that can accept much higher you're gonna have to pay an awful lot of attention. I'm really Smart consumer goods save again a small amount of money the problem is a lot of consumers. Our losing a lot of money relative to distribution supplies in in Connecticut. We're here state commission. Has figured out how to aggregate the net cost to consumers in one year consumers he 43 million dollars more by switching in the because. The connect and Connecticut market is very similar. Two Massachusetts that is rule in the I have that we would mark it as it's called on the New York the commission has tried. To ban the sales to low with a residential customers less the company can prove their state neck as to when it because so many customers Williams and now. While Charlie thank you very much for your time we appreciate it happy to do your show Baird have a great day YouTube Charlie Carrick viewpoint. Jacqui you'll learn a lesson there didn't yeah I mean in general mock my rule of thumb that I have when it comes to just about anything. Utility related is I try to keep it as simple as possible just because again you you you hear this type of thing in a lot of times you just not aware. Just because it's such a complex and intricate system that is so we get taken advantage of in situations like this would be. It was a friend of my wife sue you should came over to the house of blues made this presentation to assist guy that we should switched. And he just didn't jive you know and and then I did some research on it did. It you know he didn't check out from from better business perspective. Outside just to who we passed on it but I was shocked by those numbers it it always comes back to if it sounds too good to be true now it probably is.