Eversource, AG’s office warn of scam

Eversource and AG's office are calling this faxed letter a scam. — Josephine Brennan

On Dec. 19, The Times received a faxed promotional flyer that touted the ability to “take control” over one’s Eversource electric rate, which the flyer stated was poised to jump between 45 and 49 percent in 2019.

Upon examination of the fax, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey determined it made fraudulent claims and masqueraded as an Eversource document.

“This flyer is clearly misleading in that it pretends to be from Eversource and misrepresents information about the customer’s current electricity service,” Healy’s deputy press secretary, Alex Bradley, wrote in an email. “Our office continues to work hard to protect business and residential consumers from companies that seek to profit off of deceptive and false statements regarding their electricity supply.”

When The Times rang the number in the flyer, an “energy advisor” named Chris, who said he was based in Cleveland, Ohio, defended the calculations in the flyer: “These Eversource rates are released from Eversource,” he said. “If they gave you some other indication, they directly lied to you.”

Asked if he would be surprised to know the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office deemed the flyer a scam, Chris said, “It would because we’re not.”

The line then abruptly went dead.

“Our customers routinely express concern over competitive electricity supply and the deceptive or aggressive practices of some suppliers and marketers,” Eversource spokesman Reid Lamberty wrote in an email. “We continue to work collaboratively with the DPU [Department of Public Utilities] and other utilities to help our customers protect themselves from these predatory marketing tactics, including the use of the Eversource logo you received, which is a clear attempt to intentionally mislead our customers. In March, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey proposed a change in the competitive energy-supply market due to the aggressive and deceptive tactics that cost many customers on competitive supply more money on their bill. We applaud AG Healey for helping to spread the word about aggressive third-party electric suppliers.”

Lamberty wrote that basic-service customers should expect a modest rate increase of 2.19 cents per kilowatt-hour — a far cry from 45 to 49 percent.

“As always, we encourage our customers to always read the fine print of any offer and report any type of scam attempts to local authorities,” he wrote. “Eversource representatives will never go door-to-door to discuss your energy supply options. Our employees always carry identification, and you can always call us to see if we have sent someone to your home.”