If a Vista Energy Marketing salesperson shows up at your door and asks about your PG&E bill and suggests that with their assistance they can provide lower costs, you might think twice, according to one local resident. Just like him, cities throughout Central California have experienced a number of complaints about the company’s “pushiness” and a number of residents, especially the elderly, have complained about getting scammed on their utility bills.
“This problem has increased so much, Senator Berryhill has contacted the Public Utilities Commission about the company’s actions,” said Patricia O’Brien, spokesperson for Senator Tom Berryhill’s office in Oakdale. “It’s not just here according to our research and seems they are targeting a certain group – the retired, non-English speaking, and low income.”
Les Miller, 67, said he contacted Senator Berryhill’s office because he received billing from Vista Energy when he never signed up for anything. The Vista bill was inside his regular PG&E bill and had a much higher billing for natural gas.
“They had come to my door and made a presentation,” Miller said, “but I never signed or agreed to anything and now somehow I’m a customer. This isn’t right.”
Miller added that he contacted PG&E who stated they have no affiliation with Vista Energy.
“What happens now if I don’t pay their bill?” Miller pondered.
Vista Energy, whose logo features a blue spruce flame similar to PG&E, serves homes and businesses as a third party natural gas supplier within PG&E’s Core Gas Aggregation Program. Current customers will still receive their bill from PG&E, but Vista Energy will appear as the third party gas supplier.
News articles up and down the state report Vista Energy has been raking in the cash at the expense of California residents. After agreeing to services, these customers are seeing that Vista is charging up to double the amount on top of what PG&E is charging for gas.
While some reports state Vista representatives have been hitting up residents via phone calls, others, many times elderly and on a fixed income, have indicated they were introduced to Vista by a representative who came to their door promising them they could save money on their utility services.
Whatever Vista’s issues, the Better Business Bureau has revoked their accreditation due to the abundance of complaints. The BBB reports 36 complaints against Vista over the past three years. They include false representations by salespeople, unexpected and excessive charges and poor service – all similar to what was explained by Berryhill’s office.
O’Brien said that on behalf of some constituents that have advised them of these similar problems, they’ve also filed a complaint with the BBB.
Vista Energy, based in Houston, initially hung up on The News when questioned about this and other complaints from the area. When other officials were contacted, they declined to answer any questions and referred us to an email address. As of press time, no return messages have been received.