Ambit Energy

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Ambit Energy
Industry Energy
Genre Retail electricity and natural gas provider
Founded 2006
Founders Jere Thompson, Jr., Chris Chambless
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, United States
Area served
TX, IL, IN, OH, NY, MD, PA, NJ, CT, MA, ME, CA, DE, RI, NH, VA and Washington D.C.
Key people
Jere Thompson Jr. (Co-Founder & CEO), Chris Chambless (Co-Founder & CMO), John Burke (CIO), Laurie Rodriguez (CFO)[1]
Revenue USD $ 1 Billion (2013)[2]
Number of employees
625 (2014)[3]
Website ww2.ambitenergy.com

Ambit Energy is a United States multi-level marketing[4] company that provides electricity and natural gas services in energy markets in the U.S. that have been deregulated.[5] The company's corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and its operations/call center headquarters are located in Plano, Texas. Ambit Energy was founded in 2006 in Addison, Texas by Jere Thompson Jr. and Chris Chambless.[6]

Business model[edit]

Ambit Energy obtains customers through a network of independent consultants who work directly with the customers. Ambit Energy uses a multilevel marketing model and is a member of the Direct Selling Association of America, a public relations and lobby organization that represents the interests of multilevel marketing companies is the United States.[7]

Ambit typically offers customers one or two-year fixed-rate contracts for utilities. After the contracts expire, services may automatically switch to variable-rate plans unless customers manually renew the fixed-rate plans. In some cases Ambit's variable-rate plans are substantially more expensive. This has prompted complaints and lawsuits from consumers, and an investigation from New York Public Service Commission.[8][9][10][11] In December 2015, the Department of Public Service in New York announced that it had secured refunds for 1,566 Ambit customers, totaling nearly one million dollars.[12]

Ambit Energy was named 2010's Fastest Growing Privately Held Company by Inc. Magazine.[6] The company placed 390 in 2011, 1,996 in 2013, and 2,074 in 2014.[3]

Products and services[edit]

Ambit Energy offers electric, gas, solar services [13] and Green-e plans, offered with a Renewable Energy Certificate (United States).[14] The products and services are offered through their Independent Consultants.[15]

Solar[edit]

Solar [13] is offered through Sunrun in several Ambit markets: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. The service is sold through Ambit’s Independent Consultants. Their customers are then matched with a representative from Sunrun who completes the enrollment the process.

Criticism from consumer advocates[edit]

Ambit Energy has come under scrutiny from regulators and consumer advocates. A 2014 story by ConsumerAffairs documents numerous complaints by customers whose rates doubled or tripled without warning. Complainants also said it was difficult to contact Ambit to discuss rates or switch plans.[16]

In New York, state officials and consumer groups have claimed that sales representatives, who are paid by commission, have misrepresented contracts, exaggerated financial benefits of membership, and been excessively aggressive in recruiting vulnerable groups such as the elderly and non-native English speakers.[4] In 2014, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) received 450 complaints about the company, most of which are for price gouging, or unanticipated rate increases following the expiration of contracts.[9] In May 2015, the NYPSC launched an investigation into the company.[10] The results of the NYPSC investigation were announced in December 2015, with Ambit refunding 1,566 customers for a total of $950,700.[12]

The company has been the defendant in class-action lawsuits in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.[8][9] The New Jersey lawsuit alleging that Ambit Energy Holdings LLC unfairly hiked up its rates was dismissed by the judge, who ruled that Ambit disclosed its rates in its terms of service.[17]

Carol Biedrzycki, of the consumer organization Texas ROSE, has said that representatives for multi-level marketing energy companies are more focused on marketing than on providing continuing service.[18] Biedrzycki has also criticized Ambit and some other Texas energy providers for charging excessive connection and disconnection fees.[19]

Markets[edit]

Ambit Energy provides energy in 17 areas, all of which have deregulated energy markets. Ambit operates in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C..[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ambit Energy. "Ambit’s Leaders | Ambit Energy". Ww2.ambitenergy.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  2. ^ "The Road to $1 Billion — Direct Selling News". Directsellingnews.com. 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  3. ^ a b "Ambit Energy - Dallas, TX". Inc.com. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Belson, Ken (31 August 2008). "An Alternative to Con Ed Revs Up Its Sales Force". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Ambit Energy. "About Ambit Energy | Ambit Energy". Ww2.ambitenergy.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  6. ^ a b As told to Darren Dahl (2010-09-01). "Meet America's Fastest-Growing Company: Ambit Energy | Inc. 5000". Inc.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  7. ^ Ambit Energy public profile - Direct Selling Association
  8. ^ a b "Ambit Energy accused of gouging customers". Legal Newsline. Locallabs News Service. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Post, Paul (19 April 2015). "New Yorkers scammed by Dallas-based Ambit Energy". Oneida Dispatch. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "State Launches Investigation Into Ambit Energy After Hundreds Of Consumer Complaints". Vos Iz Neias?. 4 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Real Deal: Ambit Energy complaints pilling up". CBS 6 (Albany). 17 July 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Governor Cuomo Announces Energy Bill Refunds For More Than 1,500 New Yorkers". Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (Albany). 28 December 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Savings with Solar". Ambit Energy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Green Energy". Ambit Energy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Start a Business with Ambit Energy". Ambit Energy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  16. ^ Abel, Jennifer (24 April 2014). "Deregulated energy providers: are they a good deal?". ConsumerAffairs. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  17. ^ Davis, Christina (31 July 2015). "Judge Dismisses Class Action Lawsuit Against Ambit Energy". Top Class Actions. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  18. ^ Gearino, Dan (21 June 2010). "Energy marketing is suspect, critics say". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Lieber, Dave (10 August 2013). "The Watchdog: Texas electricity companies profit from fees that some call ‘money for nothing’". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Service Areas". Ambit Energy. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 

External links[edit]