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Blue Spruce

 

 

Energy?

 

 

Better read the fine print.



3/17/14

By Marc Garman



Had a guy come to my door, here in Vallejo today selling energy. He identified himself as being with Blue Spruce Energy, a natural gas supplier, and claimed he could save me money on my PG&E bill. “All I need is a copy of your bill and a signature,” he said smilingly.


Now folks, call me suspicious by nature, but I like to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line or handing over personal information, my underwear size, rights to my (yet to be) first born children or other private tidbits. Yup.

 

OK. Do you have some information about your company I could read?” I ask this fella, as I do all door to door hucksters. That caused a some consternation and an exchange more or less as follows:


This is my ID. I work for Blue Spruce Energy,” says Mr. Spruce tilting his folder full of contracts towards me displaying his generic laminated company ID, “A lot of your neighbors have signed up to save money and get their gas at wholesale rates,” he adds flipping through a stack of PG&E bills clipped alongside other papers.


OK. That tells me squat,” I say, “Can I have a copy of the paperwork so I can read it and see what your company is all about?”


Oh, I can't give you a copy. I'm not gonna do that. I'm running short. You can check us out online. We're legit. It's because of DEREGULATION,” he says carefully enunciating D-E-R-E-G-U-L-A-T-I-O-N like I'm some sort of a moron, “It all appears on your PG&E bill and saves you money.”


OK. Fine. I have my little camera right here,” I say reaching for my tool of choice, which people frequently want to shove up my ahem...but I digress, “ I can just take a snappy of your contract with my little camera and read it at my leisure,” I say as I turn on the cam.


At this point, Mr. Spruce got a little loose and bolted off my porch.


What is Blue Spruce? Can you explain that to me?” I ask as he takes off.


I disqualified you,”


I'm used to all sorts of rejection...


By this point I had pushed the little red record button. And yes, my curiosity was piqued, so I jumped out the window (Yes, I'm nuts) and chased Mr. Spruce down the street to see what other information he might have for me...here's the footage:






After that rather uninformative encounter, I made some calls to the PG&E fraud division, who did confirm that Blue Spruce is a legitimate third party supplier, which is all they can do.


A call to Blue Spruce, which is apparently a subsidiary or United Energy Trading of Colorado didn't yield much, except that the customer service rep. seemed (or at least acted) genuinely confused and sympathetic and couldn't really say much.


The Blue Spruce website is not very informative on the terms of their program or contract either:

www.bluespruceenergy.com



Then I found something interesting:

Contact 17 Story on Blue Spruce


A search of the internet did yield a story about Blue Spruce from Contact 17 News in Bakersfield. According to former employee and whistle blower Glen Klepic, “We don't give them time to read all the small print in the contract before signing it.”


Klepic alleges that Blue Spruce charges a 33 cent-per-day fee to be part of the “program”, which offsets at least some part of the 10% savings that Blue Spruce allegedly promises. According to the Channel 17 story, the company describes the 33 cent-per-day charge as an “administrative fee”.


Here is the video from Channel 17 Bakersfield:

 

 

 

 

 


Or read the print story:

 

HERE


 

 

As I was unable to obtain a copy of the contract I cannot confirm whether or not there was an “administrative fee” in the agreement I was asked to sign. Or whether Blue Spruce is really offering a good deal as the representative who came-a-knockin' wanted my blind signature, consistent with the allegations by Mr. Klepic. 


Bottom line: You have to decide whether this is a good deal or not. And always read the fine print. But if my experience is typical, you won't have a chance with these guys.



P.S. If you do happen to obtain a copy of the contract (without doing anything illegal please!) from one of the Blue Spruce representatives canvassing Vallejo, get in touch and I'll publish it and we (and anybody) can read the fine print together online.

 

And remember: Caveat Emptor! and READ THE FINE PRINT VALLEJOANS!