We had a bad experience with TXU, our electric company, this week. Here's what happened:
In March I got an electricity bill showing we were paying an average price of 17.68¢ per kilowatt hour. I called in to TXU to request we be put on a price protection plan. I selected a 12 month contract that gave us an average price per kilowatt hour of 13.9¢. The customer service rep asked my permission to record our conversation as I agreed to be signed up for the plan. We did the recording, finished the call and our next bill showed the lower plan rate. All was good.
This weekend we get a bill for $368 showing we used 2600 kilowatt hours this last month. Previously our highest bill had been $210 and we ALWAYS use around 1100 kWh. I called in to see what had gone wrong. Turns out they estimated our reading for June based on May's usage and we were using about 1300 kWh during these hot months so our $152 bill last month was too low and we're making up for it this month. This was fine, we'll pay for what we use of course, but I asked the gentleman why our contract price had increased to 14.2¢ on this bill when we were locked in for 12 months at the 13.9¢ rate.
He tells me that we're not under any contract. I tell him the month I signed us up and request he go listen to the voice recording of me agreeing to the contract so they can correct the error. He searches for the recording and it's not there. In fact, TXU claims I have not called in to customer service since January - they have no record of a March phone conversation at all. I ask the gentleman to view my bills, showing where the March 17.68¢ rate dropped to 13.42¢ in April and has continued somewhat steadily through the summer. He says he can see I have a better price than everyone else is paying but there's nothing he can do about correctly showing that my account is under a price protection plan. I ask to speak to a supervisor and am told the supervisor can't correct the problem either. So my lovely rate that I thought I had locked in is no more. Worse, I can't lock in the 14.2¢ rate from this month, either, because they are only offering one plan: 24 months at 17.5¢. That's the ONLY plan they can offer me. PERIOD.
Next, I tell the gentleman supervisor that I got a letter in the mail stating rates will increase to 18¢ for our area at the end of August and that I will be billed at that rate because TXU says I'm not under a price protection plan. Again, he offers to lock me in at the 17.5¢ rate, but I insist I want the 13.9¢ I originally signed up for. He swears there is nothing he can do so I get his employee number for the Public Utilities Commission complaint I'm going to file, tell him I know it's not personally his fault, thank him and get off the phone.
Call me a conspiracy theorist but I refuse to believe that the customer service rep I talked with in March had the power to lower my price without signing me up for a contract when the supervisor I talked with today said he can't change ANYTHING, nor can he alter the product code to correctly show my account as being on a 12 month protected plan. So call in and make sure your account still shows you're under the correct plan. I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only one who has mysteriously been released from my awesome-priced contract and all the evidence destroyed! ;)
While I'm certain the fine print somewhere states that TXU can cancel their end of the deal at any time, I would have appreciated it if they had sent me a letter, instead of changing my account and deleting the proof. I was calm and polite the entire time I was on the phone but that doesn't mean this is over for TXU.
To File A Complaint with the Public Utility Commission visit: http://www.puc.state.tx.us/
Address to write a letter to the TXU CEO (cite PUC complaint number):
1601 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75201
Edited to Add: Thanks for the many e-mails with links to http://www.powertochoose.org/ - it's how I figured out what the lowest rate was for our area and then got TXU to match it under the price protection plan that never really existed that I never called in March about and that I never was recorded as signing up for. Gotta love deregulation!