My least favourite company these days is Summitt Energy. Rarely a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me about being tricked into buying gas or electricity by its aggressive and deceptive door-to-door salespeople.
A constant theme in these complaints is impersonation. Summitt salespeople pretend to be anyone else than Summitt salespeople. They’re from Enbridge Gas, they suggest, or from the local hydro utility.
Moreover, Summitt agents don’t leave customers a copy of the contract when they depart. Later, Summitt’s compliance people say customers agreed to go ahead on the reaffirmation call. But what are they agreeing to if they don’t have the paperwork?
Finally, the Ontario Energy Board — hearing the same complaints I did — had enough. It’s asking the company to pay a fine of $495,000 for breaking the rules. And it intends to suspend Summitt’s license until it behaves properly.
I’m glad the regulatory agency is using its power to discipline a rogue energy seller.
There are fascinating case studies in the OEB charges.
In Ayr, Ont., an agent called MG told a couple he was offering a price cap for gas. If the gas price went down, so would the contract price. FALSE.
He told them the current market price for gas was 41.9 cents a cubic metre. FALSE. (It’s 21 cents now and was even less a year ago when this happened.)
He asked them to sign a document, but didn’t tell them it was a five-year contract to supply both gas and electricity.
He didn’t provide a copy of the contract’s terms and conditions, nor was it ever delivered to the customers.
MG visited a person in Milton, Ont. this January and said he represented Union Gas. He said there was a mix-up in names and she had to re-register for the supply of gas.
As before, he sold her both gas and electricity, without saying it was a five-year contract or letting her see exactly what she was signing.
There are six more examples of MG’s duplicity, as well as multiple transgressions by GW, GS, AB and AT.
The regulator must have hired private detectives to follow these guys around. It has proved that many Summitt agents told lies from the beginning to the end of their visits and made fools of their victims.
Good work, Ontario Energy Board. It’s about time.
P.S. The administrative charges and penalty were cut to $299,000 later after a hearing.