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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 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!