Eversource warns of scams
BERLIN, Conn. >> Eversource business and residential customers continue to pick up their phones and open their doors to find individuals on the other side claiming to be “representatives” or “partners” of Eversource, which has customers in Bethany and Milford.
Whether these scammers are using aggressive marketing tactics to sell “discounted power” or threatening to turn off electricity unless an immediate payment is made, the company is warning customers to be cautious. These individuals are not affiliated with Eversource in any capacity and are most likely either scammers or third-party suppliers choosing to use deceptive marketing tactics.
Eversource customer Theodore Owens reports seeing individuals targeting utility customers in his New Britain neighborhood. “Two men came to my door, stated they were representing Eversource and told me they could save me money on my bill,” said Owens.
“They quickly flashed a badge and asked to see my bill. I believed they were from Eversource so I showed them my bill. They tricked me and I ended up signing with an alternative company that was charging more than Eversource. These men fooled me and pulled the wool over my eyes.”
Eversource rarely makes unsolicited phone calls and would never solicit door-to-door on behalf of a competitive supplier. All Eversource employees carry company-issued identification, and any electrical contractors working with the company carry documentation explaining the nature and location of their work. Customers can always call Eversource to verify this information. The company has joined with utilities across the country to spread the word about scams impacting customers nationwide.
“We’re hearing from thousands of our customers who continue to be negatively impacted by these dishonest solicitations,” said Penni Conner, senior vice President and chief customer officer at Eversource. “We urge any customer who feels they have been targeted by deceptive marketers or are the victim of a scam to contact us immediately. Every concern is logged and passed along to state regulators.”
“At Connecticut Better Business Bureau, we’ve received many complaints about misleading or high-pressure tactics used by salespeople for some competitive energy suppliers,” said Howard Schwartz, executive communications director. “We urge all consumers, especially the elderly and those whose primary language is other than English, to proceed with extreme caution. We also encourage customers to verify an energy supplier is registered with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority - PURA - before contracting for service. The bottom line is that one should avoid doing business at the front door or over the telephone unless you initiate the call.”
Though electricity customers in Connecticut do have the option of choosing a competitive energy supplier, and most competitive suppliers do follow the rules, customers should do their due diligence and check the validity of any company or offer being made. Customers considering a switch to a competitive supplier are urged to evaluate factors such as the length and terms of a contract with a supplier, cancellation fees or other related information before providing any financial or account information. PURA licenses competitive suppliers within the state and maintains a list of current offers available from suppliers at Energizect.com.
“In investigations into conduct by electric suppliers at PURA, we are finding many agents of electric suppliers targeting customers with false and misleading tactics,” said Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz. “These include calling from phone numbers that misleadingly say ‘Eversource’ on the caller ID; telling the consumers that they are signing up for a non-existent state- or Eversource-sponsored program; falsely stating that the consumer is not switching from Eversource to a supplier for electricity; or falsely stating that customers are required to choose an electric supplier. None of that is true. If you do want to shop for an electric supplier, choose one by comparing offers on the Rate Board at Energizect.com and watch out for early termination fees and enrollment fees. And certainly, if you are targeted by a supplier representative that won’t leave your property, steals something from your home, or makes you feel threatened or unsafe, call 911 immediately.”
Never provide a copy of your utility bill or account information to any unsolicited person on the phone, at the door, or online, particularly if you question their legitimacy.
Customers can verify they are speaking with an Eversource representative by asking for some basic information about their account like the name on the account, the account address, and the exact balance due.
If you don’t feel comfortable, close the door or hang up the phone.
Eversource urges anyone who believes they are a target of improper solicitation to please contact them directly at 1-800-286-2000. The company tracks these types of customer concerns and reports them to state regulators.
Eversource.com provides more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams. Concerned customers can also report scams and fraudulent activity by calling PURA at 1-800-382-4586.