We recently heard a story from a natural gas customer in Grand Rapids. It’s an old trick without a treat.
The customer’s father, in his 80s and living on his own, began complaining about the cost of his heating bill. At first his son thought dad might be looking for something to complain about, but the more he compared his dad’s heating bill with his own, he quickly realized his dad’s bills were much higher.
Looking deeper into the bill he asked his dad about the high charges from his alternative gas supplier. To his surprise his dad had no idea he was getting natural gas from a different supplier. He had no recollection of talking to an alternative supplier, let alone signing up with one.
This is a common trick, also known as “slamming” consumers should be aware of.
When it comes to purchasing natural gas, you do have a choice. Natural Gas Customer Choice is a voluntary program open to all customers, giving you the option to purchase your gas supply from DTE Energy or an Alternative Gas Supplier (AGS). By choosing an AGS, you will receive natural gas at unregulated prices.
Like the true story of the Grand Rapids customer, there have been reports of people gaining access to a customer’s DTE Gas account number and switching them to a new service without their knowledge.
If you believe you have been switched without your consent, contact the Michigan Public Service Commission to file a complaint.
Here are some facts all natural gas customers should know about the Natural Gas Choice Program:
- If you switch to an AGS you will commit to a contract between you and the AGS.
- All residential customers must be mailed a confirmation letter from the AGS within seven days of signing.
- All residential and small commercial customers are entitled to a 30-day unconditional cancellation period, starting from the day after they sign.
- Also, DTE Energy offers a free lock-in service, which prevents unwanted switching to an AGS.