Door To Door Energy Resellers Fail To Deliver Promised Savings

The NY Post ran a good article looking into whether the savings promised by door-to-door energy resale reps like IDT Energy ever really materialize for subscribers:

“I’ve had complaints from residents, as well as small businesses, who have unwittingly switched to a different energy provider and seen their bills go through the roof,” said City Councilman John Liu (D-Queens).

One Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, IDT customer – a bartender who gave her name as Carmel – said her electric bill jumped from $40 to $70, and she is anxious to cancel.

“I’m never at home enough to use that much electricity,” she insisted.

“It’s a very volatile commodity,” Wanounou [IDT Energy’s chief operating officer] said. “There are times we have been more expensive than the local utility. There are countless months where we can show you we are substantially cheaper.”

Gerry Norlander of the Public Utility Law Project, a consumer group, said, “There’s no evidence that we’ve seen that customers who switch save any significant amount of money over time, and there are plenty of stories of abuses.”

It should be noted the NYPost is hardly the arbiter of all the news that’s fit to print. Even still, it shows that while ESCOs like IDT-Energy theoretically offer savings, some evidence seems to suggest the reality is otherwise. — BEN POPKEN

IDT Energy Starts At 7% Discount, Switches To Variable After 2 Months
Consumerist’s Undercover IDT-Energy Investigation


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    Is the IDT rep saying the months when they save money are countless because they don’t know how to count to zero?

  2. Gari N. Corp says:

    I really don’t understand why it makes sense to hand over your exposure to energy prices to a tiny outfit best known for its phonecards. Investment bankers are making billions selling derivative products that give their clients the ability to smooth out energy prices. There’s no reason these clients could not be extended this stability to consumers for a price, and this would be best managed by a larger and wealthier ESCO. Why regulators and ESCOs think I should spend my precious free time pondering the mysteries of energy and commodities markets is beyond me. I’m not necessarily saying we should hand everything back to ConEd, or take the lot back into public hands. But given how volatile energy prices are, wouldn’t it be nice to have grown-ups working on this?

  3. 0x12is18 says:

    Though I wouldn’t choose IDT myself, the fact that the have branched out into other areas diversifies the company and makes it less volatile for investors. Just as with any other time you have a free choice in the market (Walmart or a Mom & Pop; Cingular or T-Mobile; Chevy or Honda), you are taking a chance and hedging your bets on the better investment. This is really no different. Some people will be happy with IDT and some will not. The beautiful thing here is that, if people don’t like IDT, they can easily call their local utility and switch back.

  4. Wormfather says:

    What’s with the not so slightly vailed swip at the NY Post. It’s no more right that the NYT is left.

    So what if they’ve got a page 6, cheap shot unnessisary.