Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is Gexa Energy Price Gouging?

*** Update ***

The first of this month (April 2009) my roommate received a letter from Gexa informing him that their web security was compromised and that his information was made available to whoever hacked in. I'm assuming they tracked someone down who they suspect initiated the breach, because they continued that they were currently in the process of indicting the party responsible...

I long ago warned him about how shoddy that company is, so all I can say now is "I told you so."

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And if so, who do I contact?

**WARNING** - This is a particularly lengthy rant, so I'll summarize with bullet points at the end, in case you're not in a reading mood right now. That way, you can come back and catch up on all the mushy details some other time.

So it begins...

I've never been real happy with our electric provider, but recently things have gotten out of hand. I'm renting the spare room of a condo from a friend, so all the bills are in his name. He's been with Gexa Energy for his electric provider since he moved in, and possibly before that (he seems pretty loyal, even though the company has been bending us over, the last couple of months).

Which leads me to this scenario, and why I believe Gexa might be gouging:

When I had electricity in my own name in the past, I never saw more than a cent raise in "per kilowatt hour" charges over the span of any single billing period (possibly in the summer when the Texas heat is unbearable without air conditioning, so at least it would be an understandable increase), but the last three billing periods with Gexa Electric have shown an average 2 cents per billing period rise to the current 21.something cents per KWH!

Besides not wanting to pay an extra $100 a month for electricity, the falling gas prices got me to thinking that maybe something isn't right with this electrical price spike that's been occurring.

Three months ago (after the first few cent increases), I sent my roommate a link to so that he could find a cheaper electricity provider, Texas is deregulated after all, and no one should pay more than they have to for electric services. He brushed it off saying he didn't see any companies with prices cheaper than what he was paying, or they weren't fixed/guaranteed prices, blah blah blah, etc... etc...; even though I specifically saw prices that were 4 cents/KWH cheaper than what we were paying at the time, I figured he didn't want to switch because of the hassle and possible fees related, so I understood and didn't press the issue.

Recently I did a quick search to figure out if there were potential coal sourcing issues (maybe somalian pirate ship hijacking concerns), causing the facilities burning it all, to need a couple extra hundred million dollars every month (21c/KWH x 2000 KWH/residence x minimum of 1 million customers), however, I found (not suprisingly) that the price of most American-based coal commodities has actually decreased over the last few months. Add to that, the recently reported 1 percent drop in consumer prices over the last month, and this skyrocketing electric cost just doesn't add up!!

I finally confronted the roommate again two nights ago and discussed switching providers again. I then followed up by sending him a link to (I couldn't remember the link I'd sent him previously and only discovered it after I perused my IM message archive), showing him specifically where to click to sign up for service with a fixed rate of 13.9 c/KWH, which is even derived from GREEN/RENEWABLE energy sources (typically a higher rate but better for the environment and green/renewable research & development). A 30% savings every month, fixed for a year, AND good for the planet!?!? I was flabbergasted!

And then it gets crazy. Instead of switching providers (showing that no-good-for-nothing gouging company that you're upset about how much you've been padding their executives' pockets), through some chain of events, my roommate has now signed up for a renewable resource plan from GEXA (to be furthermore known as the gouging devil incarnate), for 13 c/KWH!!

Any company which charges a steadily increasing rate of 30% over what they offer on a standard fixed-rate package (from what I understand, this is not a special deal of any sort), blows a red flag right into the stratosphere and screams price rape, in my humble opinion anyway (you can make your own decision).

In summary:
* Gexa has raised its c/KWH rate over 4 cents in the last two months (approx 1 c/month prior)
* Coal prices have actually decreased in recent months (coal being the number 1 energy source for electric plants)
* Gexa has fixed-rate plans offering prices 30% lower (not special introductory rates)
* Price gouging (to my understanding) is offering a service at a much inflated rate, when you can (and DO) obviously offer the same service for a much cheaper (reasonable and fair) price

So please, if you read all that, and you think the same way I do, AND you have a viable solution involving a way to punish Gexa and possibly get credited back some of the over-payments, I'd really love to hear from you!

Thanks, and happy hump day!

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1 comment:

Rich said...

I was gouged by Gexa big time. I received a bill that was over $1000 for December even with low natural gas prices which drive rates in Texas. I'm fighting back too.

Let me know if you want to join in my effort. I plan to go to Austin at the very least.