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January 12, 2013 - 6:12pm

Suspicious salesperson peering at energy meters in Le Roy

posted by Alecia Kaus in Le Roy.

Le Roy police are investigating several calls from residents on Lake Street and Glenwood Drive of a suspicious salesperson looking at meters on homes. The subject is wearing tan pants, glasses, and a dark jacket.

After a short investigation, Police have determined there are six salespeople canvassing the area for a company called Invenergy. After a check of one of the subjects, police determined he has a suspended license and is from the Syracuse area. Police will be escorting him to the McDonald's on Main Street in Le Roy for a ride home.

Invenergy is one of North America's largest independent wind power generation companies, according to its Web site. They develop, own and operate power generation facilities in North America and Europe. They deal with natural gas, solar, and wind projects for utilities and suppliers.

Tammy Way
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just asking but does that give them the right to be on your property looking at meters without permission from the homeowners?

Raymond Richardson
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Joined: Aug 18 2012 - 9:23am

No it doesn't.

Also, these people state they are with RG&E, so make sure you ask to see their RG&E identification.

They are not with RG&E.

Lincoln DeCoursey
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The energy supply market has become fairly mature and it's difficult for the ESCOs to differentiate on price. A wind and natural gas player like Invenergy is more positioned to stand out by playing the green card, but even consumers inclined to that type of offering are certainly not without options.

These companies will gravitate to MLM and similar ground-level marketing approaches because they are effective, low-cost schemes for the providers to execute. It's difficult to say "no" to your neighbor or aunt, especially in decisions like this which are relatively insignificant.

Door-to-door solicitation is a normal thing and is generally legal although it is advisable for both the salespeople and the homeowner to exercise caution. Canvassing teams will often utilize buddy systems. Homeowners need to be wary of scams, but usually the products offered are of normal variety and quality.

If a homeowner wants to prevent these types of solicitations, he can place a visible sign prohibiting them. Otherwise, there's nothing proactively precluding a person from making an approach to the door and/or noting how fast an in-plain-view energy meter is spinning.

Kyle Couchman
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LOL (sarcasm) Well I would think pointing a 12 ga. thru a window might proactively preclude someone from lurking around your gas meter. Just sayin....

Scott Birkby
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These people showed up at my college-age daughter's apartment, and told her that it was mandatory to sign up for their service. It is a scam.

Lincoln DeCoursey
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If you're running a farm or are otherwise a big energy consumer, it's worthwhile to investigate your energy supply options carefully. Choosing an ESCO could lower your energy costs, but a majority of residences who switch end up paying more. Ultimately, conserving power is the best way to get your bill down.

The public hears about ESCOs because many ESCOs sell energy directly to homeowners, but ESCOs in the residential market often use people looking for a home-based business opportunity instead of traditional sales teams. Regular Joes sign up and end up switching over their family. Some go door-to-door, etc.

But, a low barrier to entry has invited bad actors. Complaints about misrepresentation and promised savings that never materialize are common. Some people run outright scams preying on the elderly and others, e.g. claiming to be utility workers needing to see your bill to reverse an overcharge. Their real aim is to get your information and switch you without your consent.

The scammer that you hear about behaving badly in one town is not likely the same person canvassing at a different place and time. On the whole, these businesses are legit and you can save money by switching if you're diligent. But a lot of the companies are using teaser prices and end up costing you more in the end. I've had a few different ESCOs come to my door, and they always start by saying they don't work for RG&E. I assume that most of the people going door-to-door are more-or-less following the rules.

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