Slammed by an electric company

First, read this:

“Slamming” is the illegal practice of switching a consumer’s traditional wireline telephone company for local, local toll, or long distance service without permission. The slamming rules also prohibit unreasonable delays in the execution of an authorized switch by your local telephone company. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) slamming liability rules provide a remedy if you’ve been slammed, discourage slamming by removing the profit, and protect consumers from illegal switches. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau can also take action against slammers.

Did it ever occur to the federal and state governments of the United States that electric companies might pull the same $#itty stunts?

At about 7:00 on the morning of December 9, 2010, we suddenly lost power at our home. Thinking it was a mere power outage, I called ONCOR, which manages our electric grid in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, to have it fixed. But instead,

  1. We were told our power supply had been DISCONNECTED and that we had to talk to our electric retailer!
  2. TXU is supposed to be our retailer. But when we called them, we were told that we had been switched to another company on Dec. 1. We had no prior knowledge of this, nor could TXU tell us what the new company was. We were given another number to call, for ONCOR’s customer service line (the first number I had called was for power outages only).
  3. ONCOR then told us that the company that we had been switched to was Direct Energy. We were given their number to call.
  4. Direct Energy confirmed the switch and indicated that a sales rep for them had talked to my wife Cheri. But Cheri remembered nothing about asking to be switched. I told them they had no business cutting off our power, that I would dispute the charges and we wanted to be restored to TXU and have our power restored as well ASAP!
  5. At 9:30, our power was restored.

Consider yourselves warned! It could happen to you!