After a recent spike in complaints the New York State Consumer Advocate Office has opened an investigation into Ambit Energy, citing potential deceptive business tactics following a spike in consumer complaints.
State officials say the probe was prompted by a spike in complaints against Ambit filed with the Department of Public Service, the state’s utility regulation agency.
Ambit Energy is a Texas-based company that sells electricity and natural gas to residents across New York as an Energy Services Company, or ESCO, offer the delivery of energy through suppliers like National Grid and ConEdison. Consumers have the ability to choose from these ESCO’s or from the company’s themselves.
Ambits promise? Lower bills and rebates.
Though according to the public service commission, most of the complaints against Ambit stemmed from higher-than-expected utility bills in recent months, said Audrey Zibelman, who heads the department as chair of the Public Service Commission, the four-person decision-making board for the agency.
“Department staff has already determined that some customers may not have received proper notification at the end of their contract term,” and in other cases the company may not have accurately calculated customers’ rebates, Zibelman said.
Zibelman added that some customers may also have been moved off a guaranteed savings plan that was indexed to utility rates and onto a variable-rate plan that was more expensive than utility rates.
Ambit, which is headquartered in Dallas and considered to be the largest direct-sales energy company in the United States, was the subject of 289 consumer complaints through the first three months of the year — more than double the number made about any other energy firm.
And Ambit has also been the subject of 117 “escalated” complaints with the Public Service Commission, which are follow-up complaints that are made by consumers when they feel the company has not resolved their issues. Ambit has been the subject of one in every three of those repeat complaints this year.
The Public Service Commission could vote to suspend the company’s certificate to operate in New York State.
Complaints are not limited to New York State, a review of the Consumer Affairs company review page revealed that there have been over 200 complaints from across the united states and all for similar concerns.