WATERFORD - On Monday, October 7, 2013 an individual employed by Family Energy, Inc. applied for a solicitor’s permit to solicit in the Town of Waterford, for new customers or to offer energy services as an alternative to purchasing natural gas and electricity from National Grid. The permit application was forwarded to this Office for review. It was found that the New York State Public Service Commission had received 93 initial customer complaints against Family Energy in 2012, as compared to 40 in 2011.
The majority of the complaints against the company involved misleading marketing practices and sales representatives misrepresenting their identities. Residents approached are asked to produce their current energy bill which is needed to change over to an alternative energy supplier. Once the bill is provided the account number is taken which could allow the representative to change to their supplier without the customer’s knowledge or permission. This is an illegal practice commonly referred to as “slamming”. At times a fee of $250.00 to change over is also applied without the customer’s knowledge. An internet search showed complaints lodged in regards to Family Energy, Inc.
The solicitor’s permit for the Town of Waterford was denied and the individual was notified as to the denial. Residents of the Town and Village of Waterford need to know that anyone soliciting door to door is required to obtain a solicitor’s permit prior to any soliciting.
On Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at about 10:30 AM members of this Department received a call to a residence on Clifton Street in the Town of Waterford regarding a female demanding to see the National Grid bill of the resident. Officers responded and located the female. With her were 3 others, 2 in a van and one on the street. None possessed a valid driver’s license and all stated they worked for Family Energy, Inc. The van was towed and the two individuals in the van were released. The female along with one other listed below, were charged with soliciting without a permit and were issued appearance tickets for their appearance in Waterford Town Court on 10/17/13 at 6 PM.
Karrel Monte Willis, 19, of 2211 Fillmore Ave., Buffalo, NY
Shaunvay P. Vaughn, 19, of 386 Lisbon Ave., Buffalo, NY
On Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at about 3:30 PM members of this Department once again received a call to the State Street area in the Village of Waterford for persons soliciting by asking residents if they had received their “$50.00 Rebates”. The individuals were soliciting for alternative energy sources and are employed by IDT Energy. All three, listed below were located and charged with soliciting without a permit. All were issued appearance tickets and are scheduled to appear in Waterford Town Court on 11/07/2013 at 6 PM
Hakim Shabazz Alford, 30, of 26 S. Swan St., Albany, NY
Musa Ibn Abdurrahman, 22, of 6 Brevator St., Albany, NY
Kajuan M. Thomas, 23, of 10 Walter St., Albany, NY
An internet search for IDT Energy showed numerous complaints against IDT regarding scamming residents and the practices they employ.
Residents of the Town and Village of Waterford are encouraged to shop for alternative cheaper energy suppliers. But residents are being cautioned to be careful when dealing with solicitors. If you feel you are being pressured asked the representative to leave. Ask them to leave you with information and you will have a family member discuss the option with you and you will get back them if you decide to sign on with the alternative energy supplier. Do not produce you current energy bill unless you are fully committed to signing on with them. Residents should also be aware that numerous persons who have opted for alternative energy suppliers have found that once a contract has been signed they are locked in for 5 years and that the promised cost savings are in fact never realized. Elderly persons on fixed incomes are particularly targeted based on the promised savings which is never realized. If in doubt please call the Town of Waterford Police Department at 518-237-3341.