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“I didn’t eat the cookies on the table.”

A mother tells her child, “Don’t eat the cookies on the table.” Ten minutes later, the mother returns to the kitchen to find that the cookies are gone. Upon questioning, the child says, “I didn’t eat the cookies on the table. I ate the cookies that were on the PLATE on the table.”
 
When it comes to kids, this is amusing. When it comes to energy supply brokers, this is not funny. Why? Because there are real repercussions for energy consumers, taking the form of significantly inflated energy supply prices – a function of hidden and undisclosed energy broker fees.
 
Energy brokers use a similar reasoning to deflect attempts by energy consumers to discover if energy brokers have included fees in the energy supply prices provided to energy consumers by energy brokers (To learn more about hidden energy broker fees, visit the page Energy Broker Myths on this website).
 
In this analogy, the “cookies” are the hidden energy broker fees. The distinction between the “TABLE” and the “PLATE” is which entity puts the hidden energy broker fee into the energy supply price – either the energy broker (the “TABLE”) or the energy supplier (the “PLATE”). In both cases, the hidden energy broker fee is established by the energy broker (“the child”).
 
Here’s how it works:
 
The “I ate the cookies on the TABLE” energy broker receives energy supply prices from energy suppliers, then adds their hidden energy broker fees to the energy supplier prices (energy broker set their own fees – that is why there is hidden energy broker fee abuse), before presentation of the marked-up energy supply prices by the energy broker to the energy consumer.
 
The “I ate the cookies that were on the PLATE on the table” energy broker uses a different approach. In this case, the energy broker instructs the energy supplier to include their hidden energy broker fee into the energy supply price BEFORE the energy supplier provides the energy supply price to the energy broker.
 
The schemes are similar in that the hidden energy broker fees are embedded into the energy supply price BEFORE the energy broker presents the marked-up energy supply prices to the energy consumer.
 
The second scheme differs from the first in terms of who added the hidden energy broker fee into the price. In the first scheme, the ENERGY BROKER builds the hidden energy broker fee into the energy supply price. In the second, the ENERGY SUPPLIER builds the energy broker fee into the energy supply price, at the request of the energy broker.
 
Why do energy broker use the “on the “PLATE” tactic? If an energy consumer asks the “I ate the cookies on the TABLE” energy broker if the energy broker embedded a fee into the energy supply price, the energy broker would be lying if they said “no.” But, if an energy consumer asks the “I at the cookies that were on the PLATE on the table energy broker” the same question, the energy broker could justify that they are not lying by saying “no” because the energy supplier embedded the hidden fee into the energy supply price, not the energy broker.
 
Here’s the problem. When energy consumers ask about the presence of hidden energy broker fees, their concern isn’t WHO added the fee, but if there is a fee, and how much it is. In essence, the “I at the cookies that were on the PLATE on the TABLE energy broker” takes advantage of the energy consumer, who, by accident, asks about the existence of hidden energy broker fees the wrong way. The well-intentioned yet vulnerable energy consumer mistakenly asks the energy broker, “Did you build a fee into the price?” What the energy consumer should have asked is the following:
 
1) “Have these energy supply prices been adjusted upward in any way, by either the energy supplier or the energy supplier, to account for compensation for the energy broker?”; and,
 
2) “Can I get this in writing from the energy supplier?”
 
The first question provides no real escape for the energy broker. The energy broker will have to make a definite statement about the existence of “cookies” (i.e., hidden energy broker fees).
 
The second question is a critical follow up. Why? Energy suppliers will not lie about the existence of hidden energy broker fees to cover for energy brokers. As referenced in the blog posting “Energy Brokers are “Channel Partners“”, an overriding concern about being a partner to the hidden fee schemes of energy brokers causes energy suppliers to be more loyal to energy consumers than to energy brokers.
 
As a side, attempts by energy brokers to limit dialogue between energy consumers and energy suppliers should serve as red flags to energy consumers that their energy supply prices have hidden energy broker fees embedded in them.
 
Also, it should be noted, that when questioned by energy consumers about the existence of hidden energy broker fees, some energy suppliers may respond, “That is between you and the energy broker.” Some energy suppliers take a “hands-off” stance when it comes to hidden energy broker fees. In other words, they “assume” that the energy consumer has approved the energy broker’s fee. Of course, this is a false assumption. The existence of the hidden energy broker fee embedded in the energy supply price is shrouded by energy broker in the first place with half-truths and word-twisting (see Energy Broker Myth # 1: “There is no cost to you” and Energy Broker Myth # 2: “My fee is paid by the supplier”). Consequently, energy consumers find themselves in a loop. The energy supplier is, by default, acknowledging the existence of a hidden energy broker fee, but won’t disclose it. The energy broker won’t acknowledge the existence of a hidden fee, and won’t disclose it. There are energy suppliers, however, that will fully disclose both the existence and the amount of hidden energy broker fees, when asked by energy consumers.
 
Unfortunately, whether the “cookies” are on the “PLATE” or on the “TABLE”, a hidden fee is added to the original (and lower) energy supply price BEFORE the energy supply price is presented to the energy consumer by the energy broker. Both scenarios result in significantly inflated energy supply prices for energy consumers, the result of hidden, non-disclosed, and outrageously high energy broker fees.
 
The “I ate the cookies that were on the plate on the table” scheme is just one of many tactics that energy brokers use to deflect how and how much they are compensated via hidden fees embedded in the energy supply prices they provide to energy consumers.
 
If you don’t believe me, ask any energy supplier.

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