DETROIT, Oct. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- DTE Energy recently heard from a natural gas customer in Grand Rapids, who told the company about 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 his 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. And he had no recollection of even talking to an alternative supplier, let alone signing up with one.
This is a common "trick" consumers should be aware of, also known as "slamming."
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. It's your choice if you want to select an AGS or do nothing and continue to get your natural gas from DTE Energy under existing regulated rates. Even if you choose an alternative supplier, DTE Energy will continue to deliver natural gas to your home and the AGS charges will be included in your DTE bill.
As a DTE customer, here are some facts you should know about the Natural Gas Choice Program so you aren't tricked this heating season:
- You do not have to switch to an AGS, but if you do, you will commit to a contract between you and the AGS. DTE Energy offers a free lock-in service, which prevents unwanted switching to an AGS.
- Do not give your account number or bill to an AGS unless you decide to switch.
- Whether you stay with DTE Energy or contract with an AGS for your natural gas supply, DTE Energy will continue to deliver the natural gas, read your meter, bill your account and handle emergencies. DTE Energy also will continue to charge for delivery and other services.
- 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 with an AGS, starting from the day after they sign.
- If you decide to cancel your AGS contract and return to full-service from DTE Energy, contact your AGS. Cancellations can be done through verbal or written communication with the AGS. It may take two to six weeks for the change to show up on your bill.
- You may change your AGS one time in any 12-month period at no cost.
Like the true story of the Grand Rapids customer, there have been reports of people gaining access to customers' DTE gas account numbers and switching them to an AGS without their knowledge. If you believe you have been switched without your consent, contact the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to file a complaint.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy/.
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SOURCE DTE Energy