A Share Of The Electricity Pie – Ruthless Pricks!

Posted on June 6, 2010



Do we have reasons to doubt our providers?

Hello, I hope you are all well.

Five months ago, a letter in our mailbox caused some degree of consternation within my family.

In it, the letter – with the company logo affixed at the top of the letter – claimed we have contacted one of their sales personnel recently about switching over to them as electricity and gas providers. We have 30 days to contact them and our current electricity and gas provider to decide who we wish to go with.

For argumentative purposes, let’s call this electricity provider LGA.

My family has been with TruEnergy since arriving on these fair shores of Australia. We are very happy with the service they provide (free bulbs replacement is always nice), competitive rates (I like how it’s tiered) and you get put through to somebody in Australia who speaks bloody English.

So imagine how irate I was. I’m very aware of other companies trying to coerce – for the lack of a better word – consumers into joining their provider just for a commission by lying through their teeth. Australia’s big two telcos Telstra and Optus are extremely guilty of this.

Take a look around the quiet suburban streets midweek, and you’ll see random Indian blokes knocking on the houses of every door trying to earn a lousy commission with blatant lies such as “Optus is now offering unlimited ADSL2+ with landline for $150/month” or “Bigpond has recently upgraded the service in our area and here’s an offer you can’t refuse.”

They can fool the old retirees who live on a fortnightly pension, but not my clued-in family.

I don’t know about them, but I read Australia’s number one ISP forum Whirlpool everyday and the day Optus and Telstra earns my money is the day I start following the indigenous Australian brand of football like the mad rabid lepers 90% of Australians do.

My response to them, when they knock on my door is always the same.

“Sorry but I’m with Internode. Goodbye.”

But I digress. Back to electricity.

A quick phone call to LGA and I was put through to one of the customer service operators. Turns out the customer number that I have with LGA actually exists (!) and I have to contact TruEnergy if I wish to leave them for LGA.

Leaving the customer service operator in the dead with an angry riposte, I explained I have never contacted LGA with their service and I have been very happy with my current provider. I then went on to tell them they should stop contracting their services to independent companies who send out clueless buffoons to market their products as they are grossly undertrained with LGA’s products anyway as they would lie through their teeth to get a commission.

The customer service operator apologized and informed me that wasn’t the case as she was not aware of any independent marketeers in suburbia Melbourne. She also closed the pseudo LGA account since I had made it clear I wasn’t joining them.

Fast forward to May 2010. I received another letter, this time from TruEnergy themselves.

The letter indicates TruEnergy has lost their connection ID – to put it in layman’s terms – with our gas meter and as a result they haven’t been able to read our gas usage for the last five months. I thought it strange not to have received our gas bill since January, but didn’t think too much about it as gas bills in January don’t amount to anything as it’s in the peak of summer and we’d be using electricity instead to cool our home.

Imagine, to my disbelief when I read TruEnergy would require us to call them within 30 days or it may result in a cancellation of our gas service.

Whatever the gentleman on the other line told me didn’t matter, but we are now back with TruEnergy. Thing is, we always have been with TruEnergy, but the gentleman refused to disclose the reason why that our connection ID was lost. Further probing reveals this to be quite rampant and TruEnergy seems to be sending out letters to all customers who have been previously contacted by LGA or any other providers.

If this is true, I had just witnessed an invisible mafia provider war that is waged silently and between them. Trouble is, the war is spilling out into suburbia Melbourne and the real losers are the providers themselves.

Are we to blame for the competitiveness and harassment tactics these companies employ? Why are we made to look like the bad ones and asked politely to contact them should we wish to switch providers?

If we had genuine intentions to switch in the first place, wouldn’t we be more inclined to call them ourselves instead of receiving rude letters that questions our integrity?

I feel providers need to look do more for their customers and find out how they could improve on their services instead of sending letters of silent assassination to the loyal ones who have never questioned them each time a new tariff rate is introduced or another price hike is in place.

Stop doubting us. Call us. Humans tend to stick with familiarity and something they are comfortable with.

Unless LGA throws in a free year of electricity and gas.

But the random Indian marketeer have probably used that many times before, wouldn’t they?