Energy Scam Warning
In the wake of energy market volatility following the mid-February cold snap in Texas, there has been an increase in energy scams. This often occurs amid such catastrophic events. Unfortunately, there are people who prey on others during times of instability. Their schemes rely on pressuring you into quick decisions that frequently come with significant financial consequences. I’m writing this to alert you to one currently confronting Ohioans.
You may have received an email designed to promote panic. It claims recent price spikes have put Ohio energy suppliers out of business. It may also warn your service could return to the utility at an unfavorable rate. Finally, it offers to help you make sure that doesn’t happen. It asks you to sign and return a Third Party Authorization To Enroll form.
It is true that energy suppliers have been affected by recent price volatility, but not to the point of going out of business. The email loosely implies trouble for your business but falls way short of what we know is true.
Fact is, it’s designed to scare you, simply to get you to sign the Authorization To Enroll.
Beware, The Form
At the end of the email, they encourage you to click a link and sign an Authorization To Enroll, a form they claim allows them to obtain a quote for you. While such a form, called a Letter of Authorization, does exist, that is not what this form is.
A basic Letter of Authorization authorizes the broker/supplier to obtain historical usage information directly from the utility company so they can provide you with a quote.
However, the Third Party Authorization to Enroll they are asking you to sign is much more than a form allowing access to your historical usage information. Power-of-attorney language has been added which gives the broker the right to make buying decisions on your behalf and further authorizes them to sign a contract on your behalf. That means they can choose your supplier, term, and price – all while blocking your right to make those decisions for your own business!
Moreover, if they terminate your current supply agreement early, you could be subject to early termination penalties.
Signing this Authorization to Enroll can have undesirable financial consequences that may be very difficult to reverse.
Protect Your Business
- If you have concerns about your program, get the facts. Call your energy consultant or the supplier. Ask the supplier about their financial status.
- Read the entire Third Party Authorization To Enroll and know what you are agreeing to before you sign it.
- Don’t sign anything that gives decision-making power regarding your account to the broker.
- Don’t allow the agent or organization to pressure you into signing. Take the time you need to understand what you’re agreeing to and to properly vet the other party.
- Finally – if you have already signed such a document, don’t feel stuck. Give us a call and let us try to help you.
If you believe you’ve been affected by this or another similar scam, please reach out to us. We will do our best to help you minimize the damage. Likewise, if you have questions or concerns about the information posted here, please call us at 866-646-7322.