10,000 miles I want nothing to do with: Energy Plus, and a basic rule when chasing miles

Hardly a week passes without The and Mrs Rapid Traveler receiving an offer from airlines and hotels for 10,000 miles or points, give or take a few thousand, to join the energy revolution and sign up with Enron, er…Energy Plus. Those living outside Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are currently spared from this marketing onslaught.

Energy Plus Delta

Energy Plus describes itself:

Energy Plus is privately-held energy supply company based in Philadelphia, PA that offers electricity service through Energy Plus Holdings LLC and natural gas service through its affiliate Energy Plus Natural Gas LLC. Our goal is to bring innovation to the energy sector by pairing competitive energy service with reward incentives. In many states, we are the only energy supplier offering rewards programs to customers.

Their pricing is a miracle of the market:

Energy Plus offers variable rate plan products. With this type of energy service, the price you pay may change each month depending on the market and other factors. This allows you to evaluate your price each month to determine if it’s working for you without being locked into a long-term fixed rate.

But how much will it cost?

In a variable rate model, your price is based on market prices and other factors. We use an average for your specific region to calculate the cost for each month of service.

And how does that compare to what I am already paying? No comment.

What are the rewards for this offer?

Earn miles when you enroll your electric account

  • Earn 10,000 miles as a special bonus after your second month as an Energy Plus customer*
  • Earn miles every month — 2 miles for every $1 on the supply portion of your electric bill*
  • Month-to-month rate plan where you are not locked in to a long-term commitment**
  • You’re in control since you can cancel at any time without paying a termination fee

So what is the ‘supply portion’? The * footnote has no comment.

And where does my energy come from?

Delivery will continue to be provided by your local utility company, which has the responsibility to ensure the wires, pipes and meters are working properly. Switching to Energy Plus is seamless – you will not experience any interruption in service.

Here comes the kicker, what happens in case of emergency?

Please call your utility company. Your utility company is responsible for ensuring electricity and/or natural gas service is delivered to your home or business. Please refer to our Utility Contacts page.

Let’s all take a moment to imagine the conversation with the utility company as a hapless customer stands in the dark:

“Hello, please provide your account number.”

“I don’t have one.”

“Then why are you calling?”

“Because you provide my electricity.”

“Then why don’t you have an account number?”

This could go on for many mirthful hours, with enraged family members cutting up frequent flyer cards by candlelight.

Energy Plus may provide a good service, though much online commentary is against it (obviously complainers are typically more vocal online but that is what we have available). The main complaints are about ballooning charges (see a sampling at this FlyerTalk thread, this thoroughly researched piece by Hilary Stockton at TravelSort, and the very detailed comments on this post at Electricrates).

This is an excellent example of a consideration that every mile collector should etch on the brain: when doing an activity primarily or solely to earn miles and points and which would not be done otherwise, does the benefit outweigh the costs and risks? Collecting miles and points is fun and addictive, but there are legal, ethical and practical considerations that must be weighed in light of miles and points being an essentially frivolous activity.

Each person must make their own calculation, must draw their own line (except where the authorities have already drawn them). For The Rapid Traveler, 10,000 miles is NOT worth a potentially ballooning energy bill or being hung out to dry in an emergency. This is one case where he is happy to pay his stodgy old utility by bank account auto-debit, not earning one mile on the transaction.

Readers, what are your Energy Plus experiences? And what are your horror stories from chasing miles and points – the sillier the reason you got in, the better!

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  • Jason

    As far as being without electricity, Energy Plus is the same as any other electric provider. They, and all others, are completely independent of your utility company which delivers the electricity. You buy electricity from them, and pay the utility company to send it to you. I believe electric bills have to split this out in fact. Whenever an outage occurs, you ALWAYS call the utility company and provide the ESID number that is associated with your meter.

    As for the rates, after the first month they do balloon way beyond what I would normally pay out for 2 miles/$. Avoid.

  • Beware! Energy Plus is a going to cost you dearly. Perhaps, just perhaps, sign up for the bonus, but as soon as it posts, switch your service to another provider.

    The management of E+ is the old First USA Bank management team. They are guys from the card business (which is basically just a marketing business)…now in the power marketing business.

    Here is the play by play…

    http://www.sitinfirst.com/2011/03/beware-energy-plus-miles-for-your-power-bill/

  • I’d do a lot of things for 10,000 miles, but not change my electric provider!

  • gerry

    I am planning on filing a class action against Energy Plus. If you live in New York State and are unhappy with the service you have received from Energy Plus, please contact me immediately at grunseld@gmail.com. You may be able to be a lead plaintiff in a class action against Energy Plus. Win or lose, it will not cost you a penny. Timing is of the essence, so please contact me immediately.
    Attorney Advertising.

  • gerry

    oops typo in my last comment which should have said

    grunsfeld@gmail.com

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  • CarlH

    I want NOTHING to do with Energy Plus. They ripped me off for about $300 last year. I thought getting a few AAdvantage points would be a good deal, AND thought American would screen their partners. After a couple months my rate jumped to almost double that of Conn. Light & Power. I cancelled as soon as I found out (which took me longer than it should have.) I sent a complaint to American. PEOPLE WOULD BE WISER TO KEEP THEIR CURRENT SUPPLIER AND BUY POINTS. THIS IS NOT..NOT…A GOOD DEAL

  • Mike R

    Just received a recent bill, and compared the rate from Energy Plus vs. the standard rate from PSEG for electricity. Energy plus is costing about $100 extra this month. I’m cancelling – what a rip off.

  • Jim Convery

    The line that states rates “may change” should be changed to “can and WILL change.”

    Here are the rates per kwh I was charged starting with April of 2013:

    April .123
    May .129
    June .164
    July .169
    August .169

    ConEd currently: .0779

    September: I switched to ConEd!!

  • J. Allen

    Energy Plus needs to be watched quite carefully. The rates in the first month were competive, but within four months were twice what they had been ($0.09/kWhr in April, $0.1790/kWhr in August). Could have been a nice service with a green energy portfolio, but consistent climbing in rates with no actual market motivation for the extraordinary changes means they are just not worth keeping.

  • @J. Allen – thanks for sharing, so far I have yet to find someone with a good experience to share.

  • Jim C

    I so saw a significant increase over time with Energy Plus. Fortunately I monitor my charges and I just switched away from these guys.

    I also have not seen the miles yet, although it has been 5 months.

  • Tom

    I signed up for a 15,000mile Delta offer in January and received a promotional rate for 12 months that was cheaper than the local utility. I received the bonus miles in April and just cancelled this month. So far so good.

    As many of the other commenters note, your article misses the point of what Energy Plus does. Energy Plus is an electricity supplier meaning they put the energy into the grid. Once it is on the grid, it is indistinguishable from any other electric source. Your local utility is the one that delivers that energy to you and you would always deal with them if your power goes out. I retained the local utility for delivery throughout the last year, even while I had Energy Plus as a supplier.

    If you do this, be prepared to only use Energy Plus for two billing cycles to get the bonus and then switch back to your original provider.

  • Daquan

    This isn’t the energy plus I know! This is a complete line it’s ashamed because most websites only show disgruntled customers!

  • Michelle

    I am disgusted with Energy Plus! And I received no lure of 10,000 miles, just a lie that my bill would be cheaper b/c it was coming from a different supplier. Bill was about the same during summer months, but now it’s ridiculous! I am accustomed to a low bill in winter months. My bill was $56.74 in electric charges (similar to last year’s bill before Energy Plus), but on top of that there were $147.35 of Energy Plus supply charges! The breakdown from them says it’s $0.20+ per KWH for a “Commodity Charge”. My bill is 4 times what it normally is in winter! STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!! I’m DONE with them!

  • Martin

    After three months of rates close to JCP&L Energy Plus rates doubled to 0.19473832…close to 2X JCP&L

  • Priya M

    ENERGY PLUS is a SCAM !! They have been increasing unit prices for both their Gas & Electricity units every month! Their price is DOUBLE of what I would have paid for JCP&L (for light) and PSE&G (for Gas) here in NJ. I paid almost #250 extra every month, and was discovered it late 🙁 What a RIP OFF is E+ .!!!

  • William B

    I have had several different companies in recent years providing the “generation” portion of my electric bill in PA. PPL was is and most likely will always be the “supplier”. The one who gets the electricity to the home snd who repairs outages. Generation, which PPL does not do comes from a number of companies these days. I had energy plus and accumulated a number of miles and yes they did have a variable rate after a few months and I ended up switching yet again. They were not the ones to called however in case of outage…at least in my case. This is done by their supplier. So I suggest do your homework and u heck out the available offers. I would love to fin another Generation co. who offered millles and competitive rates.

  • VG

    I have been using energy plus since the beginning of 2012 (now two years and a month). I just went back and reviewed my bills for the past 24 months and I got a rude awakening 🙁

    Over this period I have been charged $400 more than what PSE&G would have. It is certainly not worth for the few American miles I got every month. adiós EnergyPlus. Hello PSE&G.

  • @VG – Yikes! Thanks for sharing the experience.

  • Janesh Patel

    FYI all, I just received my bill and checked the natural gas compared to PSEG, basically paying 100% more for Energy Plus. Warning to all; do not switch to this provider; its cheaper to buy the miles 🙂

  • @Janesh Patel – sorry to hear that, I am a PSE&G customer as well so good to know.

  • George

    They got me too. $200+ per month for ‘delivery’ and then almost twice the kwh rate of NSTAR in Mass. Difficult to confirm cancellation too. Over the past few months this probably cost me close to $700 for absolutely nothing. I feel like a big idiot.

  • Gordon

    The offer promising 20,000 Southwest miles for switching from Dominion.seemed compelling. I called Energy Plus to verify what I was reading. What I did not realize is that these people are middlemen. They simply buy and sell power to you and make a nice profit! Caveat emptor at its best. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE IN JAIL! Run away from this!!

  • Jim Convery

    Call them and complain. Tell them you will file a complaint with your state utility board. They do not like this and they sent me a refund check for almost $200!!?

  • Dan

    I had many of the same issues as people described here until I called E.P. customer service and was offered a 6 or 12 month fixed rate deal.

    I took the 12-month deal, and came out way ahead, between the rising energy prices and the 3 United miles/$ I signed up for a couple years ago.

    I recommend this approach to anyone to lock in a floor rate–even if rates drop, you are still going to get a bunch of miles and if rates spike you won’t get gouged (especially likely during the hot summer months)

  • fred nel

    Like all other reviewers, I spent over 2000 dollars in excess.. I noticed my bill was unusually high… reps with Pepco were not helpful, and hence I needed answers… Did some digging and found that my rates had moved to .19/kw and with Pepco, it would have been .09/kw. Well I called Energy plus and told them that my bill was coming in at $800/month, with a rate of .19/kw… Keep in mind that over the last two years, Pepco rates have not changed.

    They told me that I was on a variable plan and they could move me into a fix plan.. I said if there was a fixed plan, why was it not communicated.. They said well we wait until the client complains… I told her it is a trust issue at this point and I would rather cancel.

    I told the rep that if they sell a fixed product that should be communicated. They told me in the beginning that my rate would be lower than Pepco. For the first three or four months it was, then when I let my guard down and wasn’t checking my bill… They moved up the rate by .03/kw every three month. so I moved from .07/kw to .010/kw to .013 to .016 to .019….. So for the 18 months I was with them, first 4 months at ,07 and upward from there on…. This is total and pure scam….

  • Eve

    Thanks especially to the commenters who have posted rates. I live in Chicago and here it has been quite easy to go online and compare retail electricity providers for several years now through sites like https://power2switch.com/IL/Chicago/.

    (ComEd still provides the delivery in my area.)

    I was thinking of changing from my current deal to Energy Plus to get 10K United miles, but the fact that one must CALL to get a rate quote is unsettling. I found this blog comments and decided it isn’t worth the hassle.

    Thanks again.

  • M

    Initially, one is presented with an attractive offer, but later(after the promotional period), it’s a total rip off. they charge whatever variable rate they like and feels like you are being cheated. Warning, join at your own risk and keep an eye on the rates. I would never join back, even if they offered a lower rate.

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  • Blondebedhead

    Late last summer I got a flyer at home with United points – 25,000 points for electrical and another 12,500 points for switching gas. I thought it was the best I had seen in the industry and I know because I have every single card and I play that bonus points game quite well. I signed up in late fall. That said, their initial rates were lower than PSE&G but then they went up in two months to twice the market rate; I couldn’t cancel because the cancellation would take two months or so before the actual switch happens and in the mean time I was paying $500 in utility bill (I pay heat & hot water for the entire property including my tenant’s) and my normal winter bill is around $250. So, after the first high bill; I called them and told them that they are charging twice the market rate and they gave me a refund and then I kept calling every month to get refund check and even though I had to jump through hoops; I called because if I cancelled; they wouldn’t give me the refund. Went through the whole winter like that – I get the bill, I call them and wait for the refund check. After the winter when my bill got to $70 to $80/month; I called for the refund the check and they gave me a harder time this time around and at that point I told them that if they promise me a certain lower rate for the next two months while the cancellation is being processed; I will not call them and I want to cancel today. They must have gotten tired of me calling each month so they cancelled my service and for the next two months I paid a few cents more than PSE&G rate.

    In the end, was it all worth it; hell yeah. I got a free roundtrip ticket out of it but I wouldn’t do it again.

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