In the energy industry, slamming is a term used when an individual gathers enough information about a customer to enroll them with a supplier without consent and most times, little or no knowledge by the customer of this happening. Many times customers don’t find out they’ve been slammed until they get a bill from a different supplier (than the one they’ve designated to receive electricity or natural gas from) or they see increases in their bills where they don’t belong (if they were on a fixed arrangement).
Slams happen a variety of ways. Sometimes a caller identifying themselves as being from the utility will speak with someone with little or no authority at the company, and the conversation will unknowingly prompt an “authorization” to switch suppliers. Other times less than reputable companies find means of obtaining your account number and then tell your utility company that you’ve selected their company as your new supplier. Unfortunately, the process is hard to detect because there is not a disruption of service and usually checking your electric or natural gas bill is many times the only way to ensure you are still enrolled with your supplier of choice.
There are several things you can do to best protect yourself against this unethical practice of someone slamming your accounts and switching your energy supplier:
1. Know the name of the natural gas and electric suppliers that you have chosen to provide your service.
2. Designate one person who is authorized to make changes to your energy services – and let everyone at your company know who it is.
3. Examine your electric and natural gas bills thoroughly each month – look for companies you don’t recognize and unauthorized or additional services you did not order.
4. If you are under contract with an supplier, make sure you know exactly when your contract is set to expire. Watch out for any strange or suspicious fees on your electric bill – things like an early termination fee on your bill could indicate that you’ve been slammed if you haven’t initiated the switch.
5. When considering a new offer, always ask that they send you the information in writing – read and most importantly understand the fine print on promotional mailings you receive before agreeing to anything.
Working with an energy consulting company like Power Management can help minimize the effects of a slam on your accounts. We may be notified before you even get your bill that a slam happened as we are notified by many of the suppliers we work with in advance that a change has occurred. We are able to inform our customers of the slam, and expedite the switch back to the supplier of choice with the least headache possible. Whether working with a consulting company or directly through a supplier, it’s important to review your utility and supply bills regularly to ensure you are still with your supplier of choice.