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“Clearview vs Pepco?”

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm 13 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

A man from Clearview stopped by my house around 7 on Saturday night asking to see my latest Pepco bill. When I asked why, he said something about Pepco being deregulated and so they can’t be both my electric provider and servicer. He wanted to see my bill to confirm my rate. I thought this sounded pretty shady so I told him I didn’t have a paper bill handy as I do everything online. He then asked if I would pull up my latest bill on my phone. I told him I wasn’t doing that, forgotten passwords, etc. I said I was pretty confused by all of this and didn’t understand why I couldn’t do whatever needed to be done online or over the phone. He handed me a brochure from clearview energy and kept asking a better time to return.

Does anyone know anything about this?”

  • textdoc
  • Nathan

    Since electricity is deregulated in DC, you can choose another provider other than Pepco. There’s no reason why they can’t continue to be your provider. But if you want to choose someone else you can certainly do so; I’d just go to the PSC and compare rates: http://www.dcpsc.org/Retail-Choice/How-to-Choose/How-to-Choose-an-Electric-Supplier.aspx

    • Nathan

      I had someone stop at my house about a week ago. Took like 5 times to tell her I wasn’t interested and she was equally as shady about what they were offering.

  • oneida

    shady but that’s how competitive retail suppliers get customers.

    dc is restructured, meaning you can choose your energy and transmission supplier from those approved by DC. you can’t choose who delivers your power at the distribution level–it’s pepco. see more here: http://www.dcpsc.org/Retail-Choice/How-to-Choose/How-to-Choose-an-Electric-Supplier.aspx.

    it’s false that pepco can’t do everything for you and you have to choose someone new. that might have been aggressive marketing or your just misunderstanding the pitch as must vs. may choose a generation and transmission provider. generally the competitive suppliers might give you a lower price but probably also expose you to more risk. either way, you have to do your homework if you go with a competitive supplier vs. sit back and relax and passively accept pepco doing everything as your default supplier. that’s not an advertisement for sticking with pepco, just acknowledging it’s easier.

    • Anon

      This is a helpful post – but you cannot choose your “transmission supplier.” There are three functions in the provision of electricity – generation, transmission, and distribution. You can choose which company generates your electricity, but your transmission is provided by a number of transmission owners between the generator and you (which you cannot choose and are operated by PJM) and your distribution is provided by Pepco. Both transmission and distribution are price regulated, whereas generation is competitive. Think about it – say you choose to purchase electricity generated by a specific company. That company owns electricity-generating assets at a specific location, and transmission assets between that location and your residence must deliver that electricity, regardless of ownership.

      Source: I work in the industry.

  • MPinDC

    This isn’t new – deregulation a number of years ago means you can buy your energy from sources other than Pepco (but Pepco will still delivery energy to your home). The door to door “show me your bill” isn’t new either.
    They might be representing legit alternative energy companies, but their method of getting new customers is not legit. They are lying when they tell you Pepco can’t be your provider and servicer.

  • ET

    I want to say I heard that there was some “scammer” type going door to door on the Hill that was mentioned on the Hill listserv a week or so ago. I can’t remember exactly what they were selling but I think it may have been along the same lines. Don’t know if it is the same crew but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  • jcm

    He was lying. For some reason, most of these companies use really shady sales tactics. Pepco can (and most likely is) both your provider and servicer. It’s a shame, because lots of people really would be better off if they switched, but the used-car-lot tactics of the sales people scare them off. I’m pretty well versed in the market, and I’ve used alternative suppliers for years. The number of flat-out lies I’ve been told by these companies is pretty amazing.

    • jcm

      One important piece of advice. If you choose an alternative supplier (and you probably should!) make sure you set a reminder in your calendar to check it again when your contract ends. A lot of these companies give you a nice rate for a 12 month contract, and then in month 13 jack up the rate.

      • Gumball

        Yes to all of this. It is legitimate and not a scam. However, Pepco CAN be both your supplier and servicer, but you can certainly choose your own supplier. Your bill will still come from Pepco, but on your invoice you will see Clearview (or whoever you choose) listed as your supplier, with your new fixed rate. Sometimes the supplier rates are higher, sometimes it’s lower. If you can lock in a lower fixed rate, go for it. But like JCM said, make sure you review the rates at renewal time and make the best decision.

  • anonymous

    I would also compare the rates in more detail over period of couple of years (if you have that data). I was sent offer from Constellation and they said that they could be Pepco rates by 5%. If you read the fine detail, the rate comparison was only against a certain window. Their rate was actually higher than what I am currently paying for Pepco, but their justification was that my rate would be fixed for 36 months. This could be good if I expected the rates to go up, but by looking at my last two years of my Pepco bill, the rates have actually fallen a few cents.

    • Marty

      Constellation does seem to have the lowest long-term rate:
      7.99 cents per kWh for 36 months (beats Pepco @ 8.18 )
      I haven’t looked at their site at all, but are you saying that this rate isn’t for ANY AMOUNT of kWh I use, but rather only for the first x kWh?

    • Green in DC

      Don’t forget, Constellation and Pepco are now both part of the same company (Exelon)!

      The best reason to switch suppliers may not be to save a few pennies (with the risk of losing track and paying more at some point later). It’s more that you can switch to a wind supplier or other greener power. Same cautions still apply — some suppliers will try to charge you a lot of green to be green, so look for the better deals.


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