Person Asks to See PG&E Bill, Claims they Plan to Switch PG&E Smart Meters

April 8, 2014 8:00 am · 41 comments

A Claycordian had a strage encounter with a person going door-to-door on Monday night in Concord.

Here’s the message….

We had someone come to the door at 7:50pm on Monday. They were wearing a VISION shirt and said they will be switching out the smart meters.

They asked for my PG&E bill.

I turned them away, wondering if you know anything about this?

Nothing. Anybody out there have any encounters with these people?

twilight April 8, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Your PGE bill has personal info on it. PGE already has all that info. DO NOT give it to someone at the door. DO NOT open door to unknown persons. Especially after working hours!! It has to be a scam/ foot in the door (for invasion?)!

Incognito April 8, 2014 at 8:20 AM

The curfew for door-to-door marketing/soliciting is 7:00pm.

Even if this person from “Vision” was contracted out with P G & E to do some work, they wouldn’t be at your door at almost 8:00pm, and you would have received some sort of notice from P G & E. And, why would they need to see your bill?

Another reason not to be answering your door to strangers.

anon April 8, 2014 at 8:21 AM

We had our gas smart meter switched out. It was by a PG&E worker with a PG&E truck. He asked me no questions, only told me he would be replacing the meter and to take any needed precautions for the gas turning off.

I would recommend reporting it to PG&E so they can add it to their scams page.

Left3rd April 8, 2014 at 8:23 AM

This has “s-c-a-m” written all over it! PG&E would already know the info on your statement.

Concordejet April 8, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Most likely another threat please be careful out there.

Anne Moss April 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

We had someone awhile back – maybe late last year, come around claiming they were from PGE and they could save us money and wanted to see our bill. We didn’t show it to them, it just felt…off.

Similar Experience April 8, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I had someone knock on my door in P. Hill a few Saturdays ago – said she was with Gen110 (solar company) and her pitch included asking to see my PG&E bill. I politely declined.

Person was wearing green and black shirt.

From April 8, 2014 at 8:44 AM

The typo is PG&E’s, not mine:

Customers always should to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.

If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.

ed April 8, 2014 at 8:47 AM

I haven’t heard of this one but last weekend a guy knocked on the door asking if he could clean the carpets for free. He claimed to be paid by Kirby Vacuums 30$ for his trouble….

The Mamba April 8, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Goddamn you guys have people trying to run some weird scams in Concord.

anon April 8, 2014 at 8:55 AM

what neighborhood or area? i got to start planning on getting a security camera. I have a gate that locks so no one can just walk up to the front door.

not pg&e April 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM

but have seen a lot of NON water district people replacing the meters in front of people’s houses… anything known about that? I don’t trust this whole pg&e thing/switch over to cheaper gas- had 2 people come to my house and my info was on THEIR list!

Dorothy April 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

When a PG&E person came to my door saying they would be switching my meter, he did NOT ask to see my bill. Just wanted to tell me it would happen within a certain amount of time. When the meter was switched, the guy came to the door to tell me they were doing it and he did NOT ask to see my bill.

There is no reason for anyone to come to the door and ask to see a person’s bill for any authorized service provider, including PG&E.

By the way, after the switch, my bill did go down.

Audrey April 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Haven’t heard about this tactic yet but we never answer our door unless we know someone is coming over. Friends and family call first, then come over. 8 PM seems really suspicious.

Anon April 8, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Yes. I had the same thing happen last week. I called me husband to come home right away & called PG&E. They said don’t give them anything. The kid at my front door appeared to be looking for open doors. He didn’t know I was open & I heard the front door handle as if someone was trying to open it. My dog started barking.

Charles-the-cat April 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

It should be a given that anyone making such a bizarre request, especially at 8pm, is up to no good. Unfortunately, PG&E hires some pretty unprofessional subcontractors so they may have been who they said they were. (I would have shut the door in their face regardless.)

There are countless private companies and scam artists that falsely claim to be affiliated with PG&E. People have come to expect PG&E’s subcontractors to be kind of dodgy which makes it easier for the real crooks to do business.

Michelle April 8, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Definite scam. PG&E workers are off that time of night!

Just ban it ! April 8, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Ban all door to door solicitation period!
It is not an effective sales method and has not
been since “The Dawg” was selling vacuums .
This would eliminate this nuisance. It would
also deter would be burgalers from using this
method of casing neighborhoods.

twilight April 8, 2014 at 9:49 AM

P.S. we are always being urged to get our bills online, so why should someone at the door assume we have a paper bill?

DodgerDog April 8, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Solar companies ask to see your PG&E bill; they can tell you approx. how much you can save. (I suspect it may also help them determine how much to charge you.)
My guess it was someone from Vision Solar. (I googled the name; they exist.)
Not everyone that knocks at your door is planning a home-invasion robbery. I’m not suprised they showed up at 7:50pm. Salespeople are going to knock on your door when it’s most likely someone is at home- 6pm and later on weekdays, and all day on the weekends.
Be safe; be prudent; but the absolute paranoia of some people never ceases to amaze me.

@dodger dog April 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Forget about “paranoia”, let alone absolute. They
are at best pests and often obnoxious.
Being prudent would mean you do what is reasonable
to lessen a particular occurrence or its potential.
We have to deal with pop-up ads, junk mail we
didn’t ask to receive , and strangers knocking
on our doors at all times of day.
I stick by my statement, “ban it”.

Mr. Pink April 8, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Had a neighbor tell me she’s received calls from people claiming that she didn’t pay enough on her taxes and that the sheriff was on his way to arrest her. Anyone hear anything about this? Possibly targeting older people?

Dorothy April 8, 2014 at 10:48 AM

@ #20 – Even solar people don’t need to see your bill. All the solar people I’ve met, and not at my door, have only asked if I knew how much of my PG&E bill was for electricity. Most people do know how much is for electricity and how much is for gas.

Best is not to open the door at any time of day unless you know who is on the other side.

twilight April 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM

“Not everyone who knocks at your door is planning a home-invasion robbery.” But the one who is could easily leave you dead (no witnesses). “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.” I just had a knock at the door (~10 am in Clayton). Got a glimpse through a lace curtain, it looked like a hoodie (fairly tall); I went to door (unopened) and yelled “Go away.” Saw them leaving; guess it was Jehovah’s witnesses (who have already been here 3(?) times this spring, and I have not gone to door). Also I have a “No Solicitors” sign near door (you can get at hardware stores). And in Clayton I think a permit is required for door-to-door solicitation (not that all will get one, you can be sure). “Vision” should be told that we are paranoid because of all the door-knob rattling going around, and that scaring people is counter-productive.

NutCreek Frontier April 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Our neighborhood, Carriage Square, got hit by the solar salespeople two weeks ago. Two problems we had with them: 1) they claimed to be working with PGE (untrue); and 2) they really pressured some of our elderly neighbors to allow them to see their meters. Unless you really want to buy solar panels, see no reason to open your doors to them, or allow them access to your meters.

Dana Hills...? April 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM

About 7:40 a.m. today, I was working in my yard in Dana Hills and overheard a man who was wearing a High-Visibility Vest saying something to a neighbor about needing to look at something in his yard. I thought he said something about ‘gas meter’ but I’m not sure I heard correctly.

It didn’t look like the neighbor was expecting him, but it looked like the neighbor, who was about to leave, turned back to let him in the yard without hesitation. I looked around for a Water meter reader truck, or a PG&E truck, and didn’t see one. Nor was there any vehicle parked in front of the house. However, there was some kind of van parked several houses away that looked similar to one I have seen belonging to a remodeling business…taller than the average family van, new and shiny and European-looking.

The man wearing the high-visibility vest was not wearing a labeled uniform more like normal clothes like jeans and a golf shirt, and I looked to see if he had a badge or a name on his shirt, and he didn’t. At the same time, he was clean-cut, and didn’t look like the suspicious type.

It did strike me as odd, but I decided the chances were it was legitimate, as the neighbor man did not seem at all suspicious, and the guy looked like a responsible, up-standing character. I meant to keep an eye on him and see whether he went to other houses, but I got distracted and forgot to watch. Also, I have 3 very observant neighbors who question anyone they think seems out-of-place, so I am pretty sure if they saw him, they would have asked what he was up to.

Incognito April 8, 2014 at 12:02 PM

As I stated earlier… the curfew for soliciting and marketing in neighborhoods is 7:00pm. In addition, they are supposed to check in with the police department and get a badge/credentials prior to canvasing neighborhoods.

If people are going to continue to open their doors to strangers, then I suggest upon opening your door, first, asking to see their identification/badge and if they are at your door after 7:00pm I would remind them of the curfew.

As far as paranoia, when you read here on Claycord about two women being locked in their own home during a home invasion/robbery, then this exceeds a paranoia notion and makes you wonder about all of our neighborhoods.

Shulla April 8, 2014 at 12:05 PM

If you are going to open the door to a stranger, do so with your cell phone set to camera and as soon as you open the door, take their picture. Then send them on their way if they aren’t already running away. Bet they won’t come back. It may help police for investigating crime in your neighborhood.

Anon777 April 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Yes, DodgerDog, but nobody needs to see your bill so that alone brings up suspicion of what they are really doing. Even if it’s legitimate company, why do you need my bill?

Ed #9 – made that mistake a few years ago. The ONLY reason they want to clean a room for FREE is to make their sales pitch even when they say there is no purchase necessary. They said it would take 30 minutes. At the 1.5 hour mark, I kicked the guy to curb because I had to take my son to practice and I warned him I had limited time. DON’T DO IT!!

Freedom of choice April 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM

It is a solar lease company going door to door. Delt with this scammer last week. Solar panel leasing is a bad deal and are scamming homeowners all over contra costa

Anon April 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

As I stated earlier this happened to me last week. I’m near Clayton Rd & Farm Bureau Rd. It was Wednesday April 2nd about 12:40pm when a young guy came to the door & asked to see my PG&E bill. He claimed I may have not paid enough & wanted to compare my bill. I was unloading groceries at the time & fortunately locked my front door right away. The guy tried to open my door before he knocked. I assumed it was my husband. He was coming right back home. Thank goodness my dog started barking when I opened the door which seemed to scare him. I’m not paranoid or untrusting. Some posts on here are ridiculous & uncalled for.

John April 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM

@30: Please explain why solar panel leasing is a bad deal and a scam.

Pegasus April 8, 2014 at 1:50 PM

@ John @32 –
You don’t get the tax deduction.

ANON April 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

@. NutCreek Frontier- I’m in the same neighborhood and was visited by the same solar people. We get the solar sales people a lot!

@ John- I am no expert, but I have looked into getting solar. If you lease the equipment the lease lasts for thirty years, and they are using your roof top to generate more energy than you can ever use, and then selling part of it back to you for a “reduced” price. I own my home outright so I am not a fan of signing up for anything for thirty years.

@John #32 April 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM

We decided to buy rather than lease because of what we heard from friend’s who did lease.

Some of the reasons include:
– a guaranteed rate increase every year for the leasing co. That might just be 1.7%, but it will add up over the life of the lease. No rate increases with owning.
– if you sell, the new buyers might not want to continue the lease. They will not come and remove the equipment but I think you are liable for it if it is ruined. Selling your house with solar and no lease is an asset.
– I think you pay leasing/monitoring company, in addition to a nominal fee to PG&E every month. Not precisely sure about this, but my friend got a true up bill every month from two different entities.
– Owning gives us the benefit of participating in net metering which lets us sell back the power we generate but don’t use back to PG&E. Last year, we broke even with them for electricity. It was quite a savings.

I am sure there are some good reasons for leasing, but it seems like it’s gamed towards the company’s benefit and not the consumer.

Eudamonia April 8, 2014 at 6:38 PM

@ Anon777
Kirby vacuums not welcome at my home either. After 2 hours in my home I almost called the police to get them to leave. They were relentless.
Thank you for your post. My daughter thinks I’m a nut when I send people packing who just want to clean my carpets for free.

@Mr Pink April 8, 2014 at 6:59 PM

That is definitely a scam! I just heard about this last week. Never give any info when you did not initiate the call. Share this info w/ your neighbor…

PG&E contractor April 8, 2014 at 8:46 PM

I work as a PG&E contractor and my staff always wear their personal protective clothing (vest, hard hat, sturdy shoes) and PG&E identification when working in neighborhoods. Usually they have a magnetic sign on the car doors and have cones around their cars. They also travel in groups of 2 minimum, and they are always willing to explain what they are doing. Like others said, when it’s the real thing, they are just there to do their job, and not be nosy. It’s good for residents to ask questions about what they are doing. Sometimes workers need to look at the meter (codes change and meters sometimes need to be upgraded) so if possible, don’t turn away someone who is just trying to do their job.

Freedom of choice April 9, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Come on John do your homework buddy. It’s all over the internet, read up

Grant line April 9, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Confronted a man looking at gas meters in Parkmead area in Walnut Creek at 10:15 this AM. Was not a PGE employee, so I asked for ID, which he handed me willingly. The ID stated that he was a contractor for PGE, not an employee, and he explained that he was hired to look for corrosion and leaks. He was equipped with a tablet-sized device, whose screen had bar graphs apparently measuring for explosive concentrations. His ID said he worked for Underground Construction, and the same info was on the back of his safety vest. This is a legitimate company, and I believe that he was legit. He worked his way on down the next five houses without knocking, and did not seem suspicious. PGE has lots of contractors, and their operators may not be aware of each and every one. Hope this helps.

Buck Million April 9, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Vision is a solar company. They say they ARE NOT PGE. The compete with PGE. If you lease a system PGE WOULD come out to swap out your meter with one that runs backwords because you would be producing power It’s a legitimate door solicitation. They want to see a bill to show you how PGE rapes your wallet with their corrupt tier system . They just want to know what you pay for the electrical part of the bill to see if its worthwhile for you or them. For instance if you are on the CARE with PGE then your probably not going to save anything. They are in the Paso Del Rio area today

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