Do third party hydro providers save you any money?
April 8, 2008 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried using a third-party hydro provider? What are your experiences with it?

A friend of mine keeps on being pestered by people coming by her door asking to sign up for third-party hydro providers. Any AskMeFites in Ontario ever sign up for this service? Does it save you any money on your electricity bill?
posted by perpetualstroll to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
YES, and it was BAD.

First, they try to get you to sign up unwittingly, and often try and skirt the issue of them being a third party. "Hi, we're here about your hydro. Is your bill high? Let me see it."

They are pushy and rude, often with obviously little training (who would want that job anyway, it only pays $10/h).

I was living in a house recently with an insane hydro bill- $1200 over the coldest two months, with electric heat. Basically, they came in the spring touting a 'deal' to spread our bill over the entire year, based on the previous one.

My roommate didn't "fall for it" per se- he wasnt interested, but somehow talked to the guy long enough for him to fill out his application form for him. I imagine my roommate showed him the bill (in his name), etc etc.

So, summer rolls around and we're expecting a nice cheap bill. Afterall, said roommate did not sign up for that silly "deal". And w.hat do you know... $550(!!!), when a normal summer bill might be 175 at worst

So uh, yeah, tell her to not only ignore it, but to be careful and not give them any info whatsoever.


A bit of an aside, but comment on the character of these people- A duo of them once asked me if I could 'pick them up some weed' while they were in town, having driven up from Toronto. Their fake names were weird, 'Ruby Hill' and the like. This is understandable, but it still irked me a bit.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2008

The people who asked for the dope were also not shy about telling us their job was pure SLEAZE</B
posted by sunshinesky at 6:33 AM on April 8, 2008

I haven't, but have talked to neighbours who start spitting fire when discussing the subject. They certainly weren't happy with the experience. You should have a read through this thread here - there's some good discussion about the subject.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2008

We had a similar experience - my wife opened the door, and the guy said that he needed a signature to show that he'd been there. It was actually a contract, and we had to cancel within the cooling-off period.

So saying, I'm one of theose smug Bullfrog Power users. Power is so cheap in Ontario that I don't notice the extra cost - it's still about 1/3 of the rate I was paying in the UK.
posted by scruss at 6:39 AM on April 8, 2008

Seconding everyone here saying that you should have no truck with these people. I had one woman literally jam her foot in the door so I couldn't slam the door on her, then she repeatedly badgered me for my past bills, even while my dinner guests were coming up the front walk! Do no business with such a company.
posted by LN at 7:18 AM on April 8, 2008

Wow, thanks for the great responses everyone!
posted by perpetualstroll at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2008

"Well, that sounds interesting, but you don't seem to have enough information to even warrant me fetching my bills to show you. Do you have any fliers? Can you point me to a website where I can get more detailed information? No? Ok, remove your foot and clipboard from my doorway, I'm closing it now."

Seriously, if they're really that great, they'll have detailed information on the way rates are scheduled etc. Usually they don't even have info packets that even say the name of the company, just a clipboard to take my info.

I don't buy meat from the guys driving refridgerated trucks that "accidentally" tried to deliver to someone in the area who was on vacation, and have a great rate (but if you examine the rate, it's at least 10% more than I'd pay at the store).

The rules we have for our kids, is we don't buy anything on the spur of the moment. If you want something, 1) remember what it is that you want. 2) look up information to find out if it's as good as you think it will be, and 3) wait at least a week. If one can't do 2) or 3) it's likely a scam.
posted by nobeagle at 9:12 AM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

"accidental" meat mis-delivery deals? is that a common scam up north?
posted by mumkin at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2008

I get the telephone spam version of the meat delivery thing..."oh, yes, we're calling to confirm that you received your pound of ground beef that should have been delivered to your door today. If you didn't receive it, please call this number."

Nobeagle, clearly you're getting the pound of ground that was meant for me! :)
posted by LN at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2008

Also in Ontario, and was pestered repeatedly while I was renting a townhouse. EVERYTHING I read online about them was bad. And I don't like their tactics. I totally agree with staying away, don't open the door to anyone with a clipboard. If you want to save money, reduce usage. Get a "Kill A Watt" to see what's using the most power.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:54 PM on April 8, 2008

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