News10NBC Investigates: Letters warn about problems with some third-party companies that power your house

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Something is going on with some third-party energy suppliers. Those are companies that compete with RGE and NYSEG.

Businesses and homeowners got two letters in two weeks detailing serious financial issues that might delay the bill this month.

The first letter told customers the company has to cancel fixed-rate contracts because they don’t they’re going out of business.

The second letter that, to people in Brighton, Canandaigua and Victor, said customers are going back to RGE because their third-party supplier is in "default."

Monroe Gateway Community Power sent the letter to homeowners in Brighton, the city of Canandaigua, and the village of Victor. It says they’re going back to RGE for electricity because their 3rd party supplier—Icon Energy known as Source Power Company—failed to make payments to the grid operator which, the letter says, declared icon in "default" on June 9.

In a statement, Source Power said "Extreme volatility in the global energy markets driven by the war in Ukraine, as well as black swan events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has created financial challenges for many Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Despite the financial hardship endured by our company, we are proud to have helped local participating communities save roughly $1.5 million in energy costs over the past 18 months, and to be working with the local communities to come to a mutually beneficial resolution."

Chuck Hinkle owns three laundromats including one in Greece. He got a letter from his 3rd party supplier canceling his fixed-rate contract. The letter from Energy Cooperative of America in Amherst, New York blames "extreme pressure" in markets and "price spikes" and if they didn’t cancel, the life of the company would be "compromised."

Brean: "The first line of the letter says as a member of this cooperative all of us share responsibility to ensure the long term success. So they’re saying you bear some of the responsibility here."

Chuck Hinkle, laundromat owner: "Yeah, last time I checked I’m not an employee, I’m not a shareholder and benefiting anything in the company making money. So, I’m a customer."

I emailed and called the executive director of ECA. He did not email or call back. Hinkle says the cancellation increases his electricity rate by at least 50 percent.

"For each store you’re looking at probably between a thousand and $1,500 more a year, which is $4,000," he said. "And if you think it as a laundromat owner—that’s a lot of quarters."

The Public Service Commission says it’s aware of at least one other third-party energy company outside New York City with the same problems.

The PSC says it’s investigating Icon Energy for a "number of separate issues."

In its letter, Monroe Gateway Community Power told customers they won’t see any interruption in power but their June bill might be a little late.