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Call Kurtis: Are Energy Companies Overpromising Savings On Gas Bills?

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Wouldn’t you like to save a few bucks on your gas bill?

Call Kurtis has been hearing from viewers across the valley, complaining about energy companies going door-to-door promising big savings on your gas bill.

But some wonder why they’re now paying even more.

When Ninva Bedjan’s gas bill ended up being higher, she called Kurtis.

So who are these people, and can they really save you money?

“[It's] set at 66,” Bedjan said, showing her thermostat on a winter day. “I try to never go above that.”

Unemployed, keeping the gas bill low is important to her, she said.

So Bedjan was all ears when a salesman she said claimed to be from PG&E knocked on her door offering to cut her energy bill.

“I thought it was wonderful that they were helping other people out,” she said.

It wasn’t until after she signed this contract, she said she realized it wasn’t PG&E, but a company called Accent Energy, which was locking her in to a fixed price for gas.

But when her first bill showed up, the rate was higher than what the contract stated. And the bill, $20 more than what PG&E would have charged during the month of December.

“I feel duped,” Bedjan said. “I feel like an idiot.”

PG&E’s natural gas prices fluctuate based on market conditions. We’ve learned there are about 20 companies also selling gas, and some are going door to door claiming to save you money by locking you into a fixed rate.

But according to The Utility Reform Network (TURN), locking you in those fixed rate is a gamble and only saves you money about half the time.

PG&E’s Brandi Ehlers said some door-to-door representives are wearing PG&E logos, when they don’t work for PG&E, and she said they can’t really guarantee lower prices.

“Our main concern is the misrepresentation,” she said. “There can be savings, there can not be savings, it just really depends.”

We reached out to Accent Energy, which told Call Kurtis: “We are not aware of any issue where our vendor agent has represented him/herself as PG&E and if we were, we’d terminate the agent immediately.”

The company agreed to refund Bedjan the price she overpaid, but Bedjan feels deceived.

“I was lied to,” she said. “That does not make me feel good.”

Accent Energy is also letting her get out of her contract.

We’re told most of these companies require you to sign a one year contract.

PG&E says you should ask anyone that comes to your door, to see there picture ID. All PG&E workers carry them.

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