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Knocking on Your Door vol. 12: “you are not required to sign with Direct Energy as a Pepco customer”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jordan Barab

“Dear PoPville,

TLDR; you are not required to sign with Direct Energy as a Pepco customer. You have many choices on how to source your energy as a Pepco customer. If they come to your door, hopefully you won’t feel obligated to sign with them.

I just wanted to write in and warn the rest of your readers about Direct Energy, who came to our door last night. Direct Energy is a legitimate provider of energy to Pepco, and due to energy deregulation in DC, is one of the many providers Pepco customers have the option of choosing to purchase their energy from. If you choose to sign on with one of these providers, your bill will still come from Pepco, but Pepco will purchase energy from the provider you selected instead of whomever they choose. The benefit of purchasing from a provider is often being locked into a fixed rate, and the ability to factor in environmental considerations (by purchasing only solar, or from a clean energy provider such as Ethical Electric).

The salespeople who came to our door from Direct Energy made several misrepresentations, which made the customer feel like they were required to sign up for their service:

-First, they cited the reason for coming to our home was that we had not responded to a notification in our Pepco bill within 6 months. We were unable to locate this notification, and they made it seem that there would be an issue with Pepco if we didn’t respond. They said that by responding to this notification we would stop our rates from rising.

-Second, they spoke about the deregulation as something that had recently occurred and warranted a change in our service. DC Pepco customers have had provider options for quite some time, and to my knowledge, nothing about that has changed recently. (Please let me know if I’m mistaken and there was a recent change!)

-Third, they had us sign a form that authorized the company to contact us and make the change to their service. After signing this form, the salesperson immediately entered our contact info into his iPad and had corporate call us IMMEDIATELY following our conversation. This gave you no time to do alternate research, or even substantiate their claims of deregulation and rising rates.

Interested in hearing if any of your readers had a similar experience with Direct Energy, and if so, if they felt that in the sales interaction that they were required to make the switch.”

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