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Ask Marilyn: This Week's 'Strictly Personal' Question
Anonymous in Baltimore, Maryland, writes:
Marilyn: An elderly friend of mine complained that her electricity bill was much higher than before. When I compared the previous and current bills, I noticed that she had changed her electricity supplier. (My state allows electricity customers to choose from among several competing suppliers.) She told me that a person from the new company came to her front door with the offer for her to switch, promising her that his electricity was less expensive than the supplier she currently had. But it turns out that this company charges 15 percent more per kilowatt hour than her previous supplier did. Also, there's a hefty fee that the new company imposes if the customer switches to yet another supplier within one year, so she's going to stay with this company since it would be more expensive for her to pay the termination fee. What do you think of my friend's experience?
I suggest that your friend (or you) contact the new supplier, explain what happened, and ask for the supplier to waive the termination fee so your friend can switch. Tell the supplier that unless she can do this without penalty, she will file a formal complaint with the state attorney general's office. And be sure to follow through! Filing a complaint is a bit of a pain, but you can get the necessary information online, and it can be effective, especially when other cases have been filed (or will be filed) against the same company.