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The original item was published from 10/11/2019 3:49:46 PM to 12/21/2019 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: October 11, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Tips to Avoid Energy Scams

Electric Meters

The Village of Skokie has received reports of aggressive door-to-door sales representatives from alternate energy suppliers for electricity and natural gas. At times, these individuals will say that they represent the Village of Skokie, Commonwealth Edison or Nicor Gas, demanding to see a resident's utility bill. Often, they promise lower rates and try to lock residents into a long-term contract. These rates fluctuate and may end up being higher than Commonwealth Edison and Nicor rates.

The Village of Skokie is a member of the Electricity Aggregation Consortium. The Consortium monitors electric utility rates of local electric suppliers and initiates purchasing agreements that maximize electricity supply savings. Previously, the Consortium had entered into a contract with MC Squared Energy Services. The Consortium current does not have a supply contract due to the risk of rate increase. Therefore, the current recommendation is select Commonwealth Edison at this time.

The Village requires door-to-door solicitors to obtain a license that must be visible when the solicitations occur. Report aggressive door-to-door solicitors to the Village Manager's Office at 847/933-8210 or, during non-business hours, to the Skokie Police Department non-emergency number, 847/982-5900. If you think you've been scammed, call the Village as suggested, but also contact your energy provider and consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Here are some tips for avoiding energy scams, should you choose to open your door to solicitors:

  • Know who the salesperson represents. Don’t assume that wearing clothing or carrying a clipboard with a company logo you recognize means the salesperson actually works for that company. Ask to see identification, including proof of employment by an energy company.
  • Protect your personal information. This means more than guarding your Social Security, bank account, and credit/debit card numbers. Don’t show any door-to-door salesperson your energy bill, which will include your utility account number.
  • Know your current energy providers. This will head off that utility bill request above. You get bonus points for knowing the rate you’re paying for electricity or natural gas. (It’s also on the bill).
  • Pay attention to the details of an energy contract. What’s the rate? How long will it last? What happens when it ends? Are there fees, including cancellation fees?
  • Be aware. Visit the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker to learn more about potential scams in your area.

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