The sales reps for a natural gas marketer are not wearing hard hats when they go door-to-door trying to sign up households to fixed-rate contracts, the company's vice president said Friday.
An allegation the reps have been misrepresenting themselves was raised this week after a Prince George woman, Marlies Greulich, dealt with one who she initially thought was a utility worker, not a salesperson.
The story was enough to raise a concern for an official at the B.C. Utilities Commission, which enforces standards set for marketers, because they are supposed to clearly identify themselves and their intentions.
However, Access Gas Inc. vice president Tom Dixon said some will wear a hat or toque given the weather and provided a photo to illustrate his point. Given the sun is currently setting by late afternoon or early evening, Booth said they are encouraged to wear bright reflective rain-proof clothing so they can stay dry and so drivers can see them.
"Its not done as a trick," Dixon said. "The clothing is not a costume and similar rain gear is worn in many other industries."
As for what was described as a confusing and aggressive sales pitch, Dixon acknowledged the reps "can often be curt and fast talking."
"Weve taken the representatives that were recently in Prince George aside and have discussed the need to slow their pitch and be more courteous," Dixon added.
And in answer to a complaint the rep made constant reference to FortisBC, the utility that delivers the natural gas to customers, Dixon said it's impossible to speak about the customer choice program without mentioning the company.
Households now have the option of buying their natural gas at a fixed rate through a marketer rather than be exposed to the fluctuations in the fuel's price by purchasing through Fortis, although they being stuck paying a higher-than-market rate.
"Access Gas works with and delivers natural gas to FortisBC for our customers and our customers continue to be billed and managed by FortisBC after they contract with Access Gas," Dixon said.
Greulich also raised a concern about the rep's apparent reluctance to give her a pamphlet. In response, Dixon said that while the reps do carry pamphlets to leave with customers, he said Greulich was actually referring to a FortisBC "sample bill-insert" the rep was also carrying.
"Our representatives carry a copy of a FortisBC sample bill-insert in a sheet protector to use as a tool to explain of what will happen to the customers FortisBC bill following a move to Access Gas," Dixon said. "The sales representative did not give a copy to Ms. Greulich because it was his only copy; however, she would have been able to view it with him had she not turned him away."
© Copyright 2014