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Old 02-09-2014, 08:08 AM
 
17 posts, read 52,955 times
Reputation: 32

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In the hopes of helping others to avoid the scam I go caught up in I will continue to post updates on the awful situation thousands of us have found ourselves in with Systrum Energy. In January my gas bill with Systrum Energy exceeded the cost had I been with NJNG. When I called Systrum they told me emphatically that the reason their cost was higher was due to the fact that NJNG did not alert them to a rate decrease in time, but that next month they would make up it up to their customers. NJNG said this was not true. I just received my February bill and it is still higher than NJNG. The lies continue. My electric bill for January was more than twice what it would have been with JCP&L. I would also like to share some new information that I read on the back of my most recent NJNG bill, that I wish I had been aware of before I got tangled up in this mess with Systrum. NJNG purchases its gas on the wholesale market and does not make any profit from this charge. Since the alternate suppliers have nothing to make profit on but the cost of the product it certainly seems that you put yourself at great risk by entrusting your service to an unregulated and in the case of Sytrum - a privately owned company - that engages in variable pricing. Stay away from Systrum and if you have been victimized by them, please contact the Board of Public Utilities (can be done online), the BBB (online), the Governor's office (online) and the NJ Attorney General's Office-Dept. of Consumer Affairs (forms can be downloaded and mailed).
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:27 AM
 
17,935 posts, read 22,403,846 times
Reputation: 23565
That is good, valuable information, and I thank you for it.

However, you should be aware that filing complaints with The BBB (known to many as the Better FOR Business Bureau) is essentially a waste of time, and--in some cases--will result in you being billed by The BBB for the filing of the complaint. Trust me...they do virtually nothing, other than to place the complaint in their files. In fact, when Smart Money magazine (published by The Wall Street Journal) issued their investigative report on The BBB several years ago, they summarized their very detailed article by stating, "Few consumers are actually helped by The BBB".

On the other hand, filing complaints (free-of-charge) with The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs can be helpful to you. Because Consumer Affairs is a governmental agency with both regulatory & punitive powers (unlike the private "old boys club" represented by The BBB), serious matters are referred to The Office of the Attorney General for prosecution.

Don't waste your time with The BBB!

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Old 02-10-2014, 02:39 PM
 
17 posts, read 52,955 times
Reputation: 32
Thanks very much for your reply to my post. In fact you are quite right about the BBB. I was very surprised to receive an email from them stating that this kind of case was not within their realm. I emailed them back telling them how shocked I was and that this seems exactly like the kind of case they should be looking at. They sent a nice note back reiterating what they originally told me and suggested that I contact the Board of Public Utilities and the Dept. of Consumer Affairs - which I have already done. Well I hope that someone will give Systrum Energy a little "payback" for what they have done to their customers.
I appreciate your input!
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:06 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,546 posts, read 20,443,610 times
Reputation: 3728
OK, i don't want to fully defend Systrum energy, but there's a bit more to this story. I can't speak to NJNG, because I am PSEG territory, but with PSEG, they had to discount their Natural Gas rate in November and December to 0.19, because they are not permitted to make a profit. Basically, they overcharged customers from january - october, and then the discount brought them in line for the year. As a Systrum customer, I missed out on the discount, because Systrum doesn't lower their prices in that way. That wiped out all of my savings from the previous 4 months of being with System for natural gas.

With electric, in January, Systrum raised rates to 0.22/kwh, which is high. This was done in large part because wholesale prices were raised because of high demand as a result of the polar vortex. This rate increase wiped out my electric savings for the other 8 months I've been with Systrum. I'm sticking with them for one more month, because I want to see how things play out. the natural gas rate has basically been the same the entire time, I just missed out on PSEGs discount. The electricity spike bothers me, but I understand the reasoning (my father works for a public utility in PA, so I get what happened).

Systrum didn't really do anything 'wrong' to you. I assume you understood the service when you signed up to switch. Systrum is allowed to change their rates any time, while NJNG or PSEG has to get rate increases approved by the State.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Ridgewood NJ
592 posts, read 2,111,204 times
Reputation: 315
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradykp View Post
With electric, in January, Systrum raised rates to 0.22/kwh, which is high. This was done in large part because wholesale prices were raised because of high demand as a result of the polar vortex. This rate increase wiped out my electric savings for the other 8 months I've been with Systrum. I'm sticking with them for one more month, because I want to see how things play out. the natural gas rate has basically been the same the entire time, I just missed out on PSEGs discount. The electricity spike bothers me, but I understand the reasoning (my father works for a public utility in PA, so I get what happened).

Systrum didn't really do anything 'wrong' to you. I assume you understood the service when you signed up to switch. Systrum is allowed to change their rates any time, while NJNG or PSEG has to get rate increases approved by the State.
Do you work for systrum, that's the exact bs response they gave me. My previous months supply rate was 0.1, in jan without any notice they jacked up my rate to 0.28 resulting in a near 300% increase, meanwhile the wholesale rate and those from pseg remains the same as previous months.

Goto their website: Compare Energy Rates | Electricity & Natural Gas - Systrum Energy and note the comparison to pseg rate for recent month is blanked out with "call for price". Why do you think that is?

Systrum is a scam and stole your money pure and simple. Instead of running a honest business that makes profit from the wholesale/retail spread, they are hitting you for a one time gain, after that they could careless if you stay with them or not as they made enough money from you from that 1 pull to equate many months of normal profit otherwise. Now multiply the couple hundred $ of pure profit by thousands of customers.

Those crooks need to be reported.

1) File with BBB (I disagree filing with bbb is useless, they may not do anything, but the complain goes on the company's perm record for future customers to avoid): Systrum Energy Review - Oils - Fuel in Fairview, NJ - BBB Business Review - BBB serving New Jersey

2) File with NJ board of utilities: Board of Public Utilities | Customer<br />Assistance

3) NJ Consumer affairs: http://www.nj.gov/oag/ca/complaint/ocp.pdf
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:46 PM
 
17 posts, read 52,955 times
Reputation: 32
Default There Is No Defense For Systrum Energy!

I cannot fathom how anyone can possibly defend the actions of Systrum Energy. This company has no reason to exist other than to offer a discount to their customers - they provide no other service. They make claims on their website that they work with the Board of Public Utilities (they do not), and that their costs will never exceed those of the major utilities (well, we all know how well that promise went) - how can anyone excuse deception. Alex Tullo, the owner of Systrum is all over the web with articles claiming how Systrum is one of the good guys that would never abuse their customers like some other lowly companies would. In fact, he states that people stop him in his parking lot to ask his help in lowering their rates (how touching!). He also posts on a website that is designed to look like an official posting of the Wall Street Journal (and is not) with an article about all the amazing things Systrum can do for you. Systrum Energy's virtues are also voiced on another blog site that happens to be run by one of his Facebook friends! Systrum Energy is hurting decent people. Check out the sites FatWallet, Yelp, Yellow Pages online and GetHuman.com to see the harm they are inflicting. To address the point that those of us in this position chose to sign up with them - Most of us did our homework based on the fact that Systrum was on a bona fide list of suppliers from the public utilities, we thought they were affiliated with the BPU (stated on their website) and therefore functioned under some official guidelines. This perception made it easy to feel confident in their claims and to be unaware of their deceitful omissions. Who would have thought that it would have been necessary delve as deep as we have all had to do to find the truth? Their actions are criminal and we are all way beyond excuses!
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:59 PM
 
4 posts, read 16,036 times
Reputation: 10
Actually Bradykp is right. Not sure if he works for Systrum or not but what you we're told is true.

Rates went through the roof and if you are on a variable rate with any provider you have to pay what the market is for that month. On the flip side the Utilities are taking advantage. They are charging rates that are below the market. Eventually that's going to be sorted out through a rate hike. Bank on the rate hike.

Prices are going to drop in the next two months. When they do lock in a rate with a reputable supplier or stay with the Utility. A 250-300% increase for Jan./Feb sounds about right. I know you're upset about it but you have to take repsonsibility for signing the contract.

Always read the contract and ask questions. If they can't answer them clearly then run away. Hope it all works out for you,
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:06 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,599 times
Reputation: 10
Default Same experience as Pinelands99

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinelands99 View Post
In the hopes of helping others to avoid the scam I go caught up in I will continue to post updates on the awful situation thousands of us have found ourselves in with Systrum Energy. In January my gas bill with Systrum Energy exceeded the cost had I been with NJNG. When I called Systrum they told me emphatically that the reason their cost was higher was due to the fact that NJNG did not alert them to a rate decrease in time, but that next month they would make up it up to their customers. NJNG said this was not true. I just received my February bill and it is still higher than NJNG. The lies continue. My electric bill for January was more than twice what it would have been with JCP&L. I would also like to share some new information that I read on the back of my most recent NJNG bill, that I wish I had been aware of before I got tangled up in this mess with Systrum. NJNG purchases its gas on the wholesale market and does not make any profit from this charge. Since the alternate suppliers have nothing to make profit on but the cost of the product it certainly seems that you put yourself at great risk by entrusting your service to an unregulated and in the case of Sytrum - a privately owned company - that engages in variable pricing. Stay away from Systrum and if you have been victimized by them, please contact the Board of Public Utilities (can be done online), the BBB (online), the Governor's office (online) and the NJ Attorney General's Office-Dept. of Consumer Affairs (forms can be downloaded and mailed).
I had signed up with Systrum Energy in October, 2013 but received no savings in October, November and January. Following were the $ costs for electric in comparison to what PSEG would have charged:

Systrum PSEG

Oct: 147.59 125.97
Nov: 181.23 153.97
Dec: 261.67 286.80 $19.13 savings with Systrum
Jan: 689.76 294.67 ***

*** Based upon the January bill, I immediately tried to contact Systrum by phone but was only able to leave a message with a callback number which was not returned. I then emailed them and told them to immediately cancel my account and I did receive a very cryptic response which only said that the account would be immediately canceled. Prior to the response I called PSEG and spoke with a person in the accounts department who told me that they can perform the switchback but it may take one or two billing cycles. To stop the bleeding, I closed the account which immediately reverts the service to PSEG and they scheduled a meter read for the following day to complete the request. I reopened the account in another family members name and the process was completely seamless. Be assured that services are not disconnected when you close the account and then reopen it another name. You may be charged a fee for opening the new account based upon the credit worthiness of the person under whom the account was opened.

Note that this was the second time I had tried to use a third party provider for electricity and the prior provider provided a small savings at first but then their charges were slightly higher than PSEG.

I believe I have learned my lesson and will not use a third party provider ever again. Hope this helps anyone considering a switch....
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:12 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,546 posts, read 20,443,610 times
Reputation: 3728
[quote=mcdermgj;33453791To stop the bleeding, I closed the account which immediately reverts the service to PSEG and they scheduled a meter read for the following day to complete the request. I reopened the account in another family members name and the process was completely seamless. Be assured that services are not disconnected when you close the account and then reopen it another name. You may be charged a fee for opening the new account based upon the credit worthiness of the person under whom the account was opened.

Note that this was the second time I had tried to use a third party provider for electricity and the prior provider provided a small savings at first but then their charges were slightly higher than PSEG.

I believe I have learned my lesson and will not use a third party provider ever again. Hope this helps anyone considering a switch....[/QUOTE]

what account did you close? my understanding is that leaving a third party supplier takes 2 billing cycles? what did you do to immediately cancel?

I assure all of you, I do not work for Systrum. I'm highly skeptical of these TPS energy companies, especially because in my former job, i audited a few and they all seem sleezy. I thought Systrum was 'one of the good ones', but was also very unhappy about the rate spike. I'm keeping a cool head for now, because I do uniquely understand the wholesale spike that happened (my father works for an electric utility, and i read about it in various reputable places before Systrum customer service offered it to me as the explanation). I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, we'll see how it plays out. But no one should be shocked - if demand skyrockets, a TPS is going to raise their prices, and we all agreed to that (unless you signed up for fixed rate, which is typically more expensive and potentially doesn't save you anything vs your utility).
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:10 AM
 
17 posts, read 52,955 times
Reputation: 32
A comment to Energywiz: If you read all of the other posts you would have a better understanding of how all the people who got scammed by Systrum Energy came to be at this point. We also see that your company is an energy supply company, so yours is hardly an unbiased opinion.
I would like to thank mcdermgj very much for the wonderful post. I appreciate your sharing your experience and reaching out to assist others in the same situation. I just took your advice and put our gas and electric service in another name. Even though I only had a short time to go before my electric generation charge was dropped from Systrum, it gave me the opportunity to deprive them of additional profits. I would like to encourage anyone reading these posts to do the same.
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