First Choice Power

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won't provide what they promised
Posted by on 02/07/2002
FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS -- When the representative of this company came to us about switching to them when the Texas deregulation took place this year, they promised me that I would stay on Balanced billing right from the start, I asked him twice and he promised us this would happen.
I am on a fixed income and travel alot, in and out of the country this is why this was so important for me. I would hate to be out of country and have my family loose the electricity because I didn't get the bill. So I have online banking and scheduled amounts so no matter where I am these sort of bills get paid, but if not on balanced billing my monthly bills would vary , which for me is impossible. This company now refuses to do this until after I am with them a year, impossible for me, I will be out of the country again in a few months.
The only thing that saved me was that Reliant Energy of HOuston agreed to re establish my account with balanced billing,gratefully , and saved me a whole lot of grief. I hate sales men, why can't they just tell you the truth?
Needless to say, I was glad to now Not be a customer of First Choice power, they are far more like our Last or No choice company
Texas buyers of electricty, Beware of this company

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Posted by Anonymous on 2002-02-07:
Thank U for ur comment It helped ..God Luck
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-02-10:
Thanks! Good information to know. I also live in Texas, and have remained with Reliant Energy. One of the other power companies (NewPower) actually will put a control device on your meter allowing them to turn off the electricity during peak usage hours. Not at my house! Think what would happen if they turn off the power in the middle of summer, when my animals are at home alone!
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-02-21:
I have a receipt from First Choice Power, signed by there representive, stating balanced billing promised, agreed to and would be done so upon switch. A month later they couldn't honor it. Ya just can't trust any big company
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The Reason People Hate Power Companies!
Posted by RachaelD on 12/09/2009
IRVING, TEXAS -- This company has been nothing but trouble for us and the have yet to even pretend to care. At two diferent occasions First Choice disconnected the power to our home due to THEIR error. The first time they "accidently" sent out a disconnect notice even though the bill had been paid. The second time the power was disconnected because their website did not properly process the payment. My boyfriend and I split bills so I paid the first half and he paid the second half. All within 5 minutes of each other. My payment went through my bank account almost imediately. Then, mysteriously two days later the money was back in my bank account for a day and then taken out again. When the power was disconnected we called a First Choice customer "care" representative. Who flat out said that we were lying and the second payment had not been made. Both my boyfriend and I work from home and needed the power restored imediately so we said we would pay the 200 and sort it out later. At this point the phone representative tells us it will be at least 24-48 hours before they would turn it back on. We talked to the Texas New Mexico Power technician before he left after disconnecting and he very nicely told us he could be back within 10 minutes, all First Choice would have to do is send the reconnect notice and he's come right back. Once again the phone representative called us liars, told us we would have to wait because it was our fault that their website didn't accept our second payment and there was absolutely no emergancy request or escalated request procedure to have the power turned back on in a more timely fashion. Turns out as this phone agent was calling us liars, he was actually the one lying! I called Texas New Mexico Power, the provider that First Choice goes through and they assured me that all First Choice would have to do is send them a request and they could have us back up and running within the hour. The First Choice agent refused any assistance and basically told us to deal with it. We work from home because we live 40 miles from our office. Due to their error we both lost 3 hours of work each, had to pay for the gas to go in to the office and had to pay for emergency daycare for our 5 yr old niece that had been staying with us. I attempted to contact First Choice as well as the domestic call center that they outsource to and have yet to hear back from anyone!

Today we called to get a one week extension on our bill due to medical expenses that have caused us to be under until our next paychecks. We were informed that because we did not pay the exact amount when we requested an extension about 6 months ago they refuse to help us this time. Diference that they are sighting was yet again a website error!! On a $620 bill we evidently were off by $3.87. If we were paying over $600 why would we short $3.87? If they are going to completely screw us over that maybe we need to get a lawyer to have them pay us for the hours of work missed, gas money, and daycare money that their incompetence has cost us.

I would never recommend this deplorable company to anyone looking for an electric provider.

Unfortunately they have made it perfectly clear that they don't care about our business or any future business from word of mouth.
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Posted by clutzycook on 2009-12-09:
I would recommend that you and your boyfriend set up a joint account where you both throw your respective bill halves and use that to pay the bills.
Posted by msnanny on 2009-12-09:
I doubt a lawyer is going to help you much with this. It seems to me if you would pay your bill complete and on time each and every month these problems would all go away.
Posted by RachaelD on 2009-12-10:
I wrote that when I was still pretty angry so I must not have been clear enough... The bills were paid complete and on time according to their website! We shouldn't have to pay an extra 20 bux each month "just in case" our account information is incorrect on their website. These have all been their mistakes, not ours!
Posted by goduke on 2009-12-10:
And that's what Texas gets for deregulating electric companies.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-10:
Were you really only that one half payment behind? It seems pretty extreme to shut off the power for a half payment, with no prior notice.
Posted by RachaelD on 2009-12-11:
Yes it was just the 200 payment that their website failed to process that was behind. We received no notice through either mail, email, or phone. They had the payment, we were recently told by a representative that when we called and they were telling us that they never received payment, the rep that was telling us this put in his case notes that he saw the error in our account and that the payment had been made, he just had to press submit on his end.
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72 Hours And More To Reconnect
Posted by Patgmen on 10/22/2009
TEXAS -- Hello, just have to let people know on the poor customer service that First Choice Power has. I've never been late on my bill but this summer my power bill went up a lot from paying approximateily 250.00 To 750.00 In a month due to it being a hot summer so I got on a payment plan that cut the bill in 4 and added it to my up coming bills. The first bill in paid on time it came out to 450.00 And the next bill that came was 550.00 On this payment I was late 3 days due to not getting paid later then I should have. So I was disconnected for a break of 4 payment contract. That was a 285.00 Payment that was left. So my power was cut off and that same day I mean minutes after the cut off I paid the paid the pending balance. It took them 3 days to reconnect me. I got the run around from the first day when I let them know that I paid the bill. I was told it would be on with in 24hrs. So I asked why so long they said thats policy to give aep time to reconnect. So I was mad, but what can I do. I let them know I have 2 toddlers and that my wife is pregnant and I've never missed a payment. They didn't seem to care. Thats policy they stated. So I just waited until the next day. So I called them back the next day to see when my power would be turned on because it was already 24hrs, they then stated to me that who ever that was that told you 24hrs was wrong its 24 to 48 buissness hours. I was outraged I let them know again about my family and I also let them know about my frige, they stated its policy and the food inside your frige will be fine if you don't open it. I have kids, they need milk. So here I go again waiting until 48hrs. So I called them again after the 48hrs. Well this time they told me that aep bussiness day doesn't end until 5pm that you should have your power on by then. So at 530pm I called again after 50hrs waiting. Well by this time I had it up here. So I got mad with this male agent since he was rude after he told me that the aep bussiness day doesnt end until 7pm not 5pm. So I told him I feel that iam getting the run around, what the next time I call, what the time will be at 9pm for aep bussiness time ends. Can you please call aep or can I talk to your supervisor, he then stated that they'll tell you the same thing i'm telling you. So I just waited again until 7pm. Again since my power was still off I called. By this time my mind was lost seeing my kids sweating in there sleep. For the last 2 nights. So I spoke to another agent she told me that aep stops reconnecting until 10pm and that she would call and find out to make sure. Since I told her about what the other agent had told me. She gets back on the line and tells me that they would be there tommorrow morning that they stop at 7pm. And that she was sorry but that they went by at 4pm and your gate was locked. If that male agent would have called them I would have know that and they would have may be come back before 7pm. And they never knock on my door. I was there all day and i had the door open to air out the house.due to it being hot. So thats what more then 72 hrs to turn on my power. This is for the power company. Thanks for the poor service and thanks for my food going bad in my freezer. I can't cook it my stove thats powered by you. I'll be changing companies as soon as my power gets turn on.
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Posted by memoryx57 on 2009-10-22:
I can understand them cutting your power off but not getting it back on sooner after you paid them seems a little excessive. You might contact your PSC and let them know..Sorry this happened to you.
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First Choice Power is terrible
Posted by SweetCola on 10/06/2009
Twice they have had "human error" on my bill and charged random $100 fees. They had notes on my account that I should not have incurred these fees yet say I should still pay them or my service will be disconnected. I HATE this power company! They are rude in customer service and seem to be out to get your money...do NOT use them!

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First Choice Is A Bad Choice
Posted by Lcobbley on 05/06/2009
DALLAS, TEXAS -- First choice disconnected my power even though I was paid up on my bill, when they finally did the research they conceded that it was their error, but the woman that helped me stated that it was too late and I would have to pay a 450 reconnect fee ..on a little bitty 1 bedroom apartment, my bills have been averaging 250.00 a month and I am not going crazy with the air conditioner! I feel like no one in customer service really knows what is going on and they are taking advantage of people.

Do Not use them for your service. I should have stayed with Reliant.
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Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-05-06:
Contact your local Public Utilities Commission. You should not have to pay an inflated penalty for their error.
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No Trust
Posted by Veramajor on 04/28/2009
I called First Choice customer service to have my name changed cause I got married. The change was important because I wanted to take advantage of the Lite Up Texas program for reduced electricity. I asked to have my name changed on the account, not just the bill. They told me I would need to fax in a copy of my driver's license and marriage license. Pretty standard stuff. I commented that none of this information was required to start up service, not even an ID. The "customer service" representative then said to me, " Well, I guess they trusted you then."

So, I guess that I was trusted before I was a customer. And now that I have been a customer for a year, and making solid payments, never late, I'm no longer trusted. Nice to know.
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Posted by annoyed_customer on 2009-04-28:
Yeah, that's an unnecessarily snarky comment.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-04-28:
I understand the need to confirm information to protect your security but to imply that it is because they can not trust you is appalling, especially since you are a customer that always pays in full on time.

If it is possible to use another company, I suggest that you switch.
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-04-28:
In this day and age with identity theft, I would take the driver's license and SS down there in person, just so its not laying at some fax machine for hours..
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Stay Away
Posted by Soniya on 01/13/2009
LEWISVILLE, TEXAS -- Customer service is poor. Not consistent in what they say. I had to call in 2 weeks straight to resolve a billing problem all they have to say is "it is forwarded to the back office". God knows where is their back office, problems never gets resolved. In fact it gets complicated with every rep's inconsistent explanations. Their rates are high my two bedroom apt 's bill is $350-$400. Two adults always at work.

Watch out before you get into this. First choice is having a lot of issues now than it ever had. My bank account was processed for withdrawing someone else's money????
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Posted by Disaster Worker on 2009-01-13:
I've had First Choice also here in the DFW area for almost 2 years. So far, it's a lot less than TXU. For awhile, I thought TXU viewed us as their monthly fundraiser.
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First Choice Power is NO CHOICE
Posted by Kwaedemon on 11/11/2008
ALVIN, TEXAS -- We moved into our new trailer on 9/1/08 and were connected with FCP no problems. Our electricity was off due to Hurricane Ike from 9/13-20 and when we got our first bill on 10/10 it was for $540 for 3003 kwh. $540 for a month we were never home, have energy efficient light bulbs everywhere, rarely run appliances, AND power off for 8 days due to hurricane?!?! The landlord said that the highest it had EVER been was $240.

When we called to ask about it, a very nice lady said that the bill was due in 30 days and if we made payments it was fine, as long as we were paying. The next day, we got a pink disconnect notice and said that the bill was due on the 23rd of October, so we called back and a disgruntled man said that if its not paid in FULL by 11/3 it will be disconnected, no questions asked. Well, we didn't have the Full amount of money and no way to come up with it, so we switched our service to Spark Energy which is .04 cents cheaper anyways. Our power got switched over just fine and now that we are with Spark, I got a "Final Bill" in the mail from FCP yesterday saying that our account had been credited the $540 and that we really had only used 810 kwh that month and 723 for Oct... S

o our 2 months COMBINED Plus the $150 disconnect fee was still $100 less than they were harassing us to pay for just one month. It also states that "It appears that you overlooked paying last months bill" and that "Due to Hurricane Ike, we are not charging late fees and you may be qualified for deferred billing." Where were these advantages when we were dealing with the aftermath of the Hurricane??? How is it ok and LEGAL for that matter for them to harass us for a bill that was so OBVIOUSLY WRONG??? I am filing a complaint with the BBB and will never recommend anyone to use FCP. I will also pay the sum of the 2 months bills, but I will never pay the disconnect fee.

Seems to me that they were trying to scam us out of $400 initially and now that we disconnected, they are taking $150... either way, they get money that belongs to us that they are not entitled to.

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Posted by Ponie on 2008-11-11:
What a bummer! But it's a good thing you have more than one power company. Where I live, I have to hook up to DTE--or sit in the dark, can't use the microwave, and it gets quite hot here in the summer.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-11:
You may also wish to file a complaint with the Texas Public Utilities Commission.
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The Company's Motto "Simply NOT Better"
Posted by Xman on 08/21/2008
WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS -- I have been a customer of First Choice Power for a little over a year. I too thought because of the power to choose that they were the best choice. I was completly wrong. Not only does your rates keep going up and up the customer service they offer is a nightmare. My bill jump from $88 to $368 from March to July I tried to make some sort of payment plan with them but the only thing they will offer you is this plan called deferred payment. How that work is when you call in to set the payment arrangements it has to be after your past due date before they will do it, then they want you to pay at least like 10% down on the total amount the same day. EX. if your bill is $284.81 for the month of July then you have to pay $71.16 down first payment then they set you up on monthly payments of the same amount for like 4 months until the bill is payed in full. Sounds good right? Well it's not, don't forget in between those 4 months your getting your next current bill. In order to keep the payment plan you have to pay your current bill for that month in Full and on the due date. And if you don't even if you go one day over, the payment plan will be voided and all payments will be expected to be payed in full including past due and current.

So you could have to come up with $576 bucks right then if not "THEY WILL CUT YOUR LIGHTS OFF" My bill was due on the 25th and I did not get paid until the 29th I called and asked if they could give me those 4 days to pay my bill and they refused. 4 days thats all I was asking for I even told them to cut my lights off that day if I did not have it paid by noon on Friday. Well I guess that's just they way customer service is now days. The electric went up 50% since last year but our income stays the same I wish my income could go up with the price of electric.

I am going to switch electric companies as soon as I get this bill taken care of with the help of family and friends. Just remember First Choice "Simply NOT Better" !!!!!
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Poor Customer Service and Poor Accounting Practices
Posted by Spacecitypaula on 03/29/2008
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I am a former First Choice Power Customer and I will never do business with them again. Since they have installed their new billing system, I've had more problems and headaches with my account - at least two payments that were not properly applied, backbilling for missed kilowatt hours, and a phone system that takes for forever to navigate through to talk to a real person and which will hang up on you.

Two payments that I made August were improperly applied to my account. Imagine my surprise after making a payment using their Western Union service, to come home the day before a big trip and find that my power had been turned off even though I called and gave them the confirmation number of the payment. I had to go to the store were I made the payment, get a copy of the information and fax it to First Choice Power. Unfortunately the power was not turned back on in time to prevent me from having to throw out food when I returned from my trip (my boyfriend was checking the apartment to see when the power got turned back on.). I was told at the time that the new computer system for billing was having problems correctly applying Western Union payments.

I just found out about the second problem with my second August payment this afternoon when I called about my refund check. The customer service rep told me that the check was going to be just over $70. I was flabbergasted because I had put down a $200 deposit. In doing research, the customer service rep told me that an ACH payment I made through their billing system at the end of August never was properly applied to my checking account and so the charges had been taken out of my deposit check.

The problem was discovered on March 3rd (SIX MONTHS AFTER I MADE THE PAYMENT!) and I wasn't notified of the problem until I made a phone call the them to inquire about the status of my deposit refund (Seven Months after said payment was made). The Customer Service Rep implied that somehow the money was somehow taken out of the wrong account at my bank (apparently this event has happened to multiple customers). I've requested the information for the transaction and am should get it in 8-10 business days.
I've used the billing system several times and the August payment is the only one that never went through.

Then there's the whole backbilling fiasco that happened in the November-December Time Frame. I had some overlap in the lease of my old apartment and the lease in my new apartment (where I am dealing with a totally separate power company). I was hardly at my old place for the month of November so I was really pleased when my bill that came at the end November was for $45. Then at the end of December I received another bill from them that was $315 before a number of credits were applied the bill because of backbilling that they had to do. The final bill was just over $132. However, the bill is not clear in term of what months the charges were generated in.

It's now 8 weeks since I made my last payment. My refund check hasn't even been cut. The Customer Service Rep asked me if I wanted the balance. I told him Yes. He told me that they cut checks on Wednesday but he couldn't guarantee that mine would be cut on April 2nd because Today is Saturday. At least I was able to get answers today because when I tried to call yesterday I kept getting disconnected from their phone system.

As someone who works in the IT/Software field, it seems to me that their billing system was improperly tested before it was put into production. There's no excuse for a six month lag time in finding out that there's a problem with my account (that just poor accounting practices), and I've never seen a company who blames the customer before taking a hit for something that is clearly an error with their system.

As someone who works in the IT/software field, it sounds as if their system was not fully tested before it was unleashed onto the general pu

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