Urbana, Champaign officials warn residents about electricity solicitation calls
URBANA— Urbana and Champaign city officials are warning local residents about solicitation telephone calls being made by a Florida-based electric supply company.
Mike Monson, chief of staff to Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, said his office has received four complaints from Urbana citizens concerned over what he called "aggressive and misleading telephone solicitations" from Fort Lauderdale-based Liberty Power regarding electricity contracts.
Liberty Power spokesman Tim LoCascio did not return calls from The News-Gazette on Friday asking for comment.
According to Monson, the solicitors claim to be confirming the residents' enrollment in the city's aggregation program, tell them they have a limited time to act and demand the residents give them their electricity account numbers.
"The residents are telling us the solicitation callers are pretty aggressive," Monson said. "They tell you that you have to give your account information and imply they represent the city's aggregation vendor."
According to Monson, when two of the residents receiving the calls tried to rescind their enrollment with Liberty Power, the telephone number they were given for the company did not work.
Urbana signed a two-year contract with Homefield Energy to supply electricity to residents at a rate of 4.05 cents per kilowatt hour. Monson said many residents received an "opt-out" letter in recent weeks giving them the option to opt-out of the program if they do not wish to participate.
Monson said that Homefield Energy employees are not soliciting business from residents in Urbana by telephone, do not ask for account numbers and do not conduct door-to-door sales.
Karen Johnson of the Champaign Public Works department said her office also received reports from four residents in her community about solicitation calls from Liberty Power representatives.
Monson said the his office complained about the solicitation calls to the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Beth Bosch, spokeswoman for the Illinois Commerce Commission, confirmed the commission received the complaint from the Urbana mayor's office.
"We have had other complaints about Liberty Power, and we are handling each of them on a case-by-case basis," Bosch said on Friday afternoon.
Bosch said people who wish to make complaints to the ICC should call 800-524-0795
Monson said that persons who are concerned about possibly being switched to Liberty Power can call Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000 and ask them to rescind the enrollment.