Ambit Energy Overview
Ambit Energy is an electric and gas services company founded in 2006 by CEO Jere Thompson, Jr. and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Chambless. The company’s mission is “to be the finest and most-respected retail energy provider in America.” The multi-level marketing company serves deregulated markets throughout the United States.
Ambit Energy’s corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas. The company also runs an operations/call center located in Plano, Texas. Ambit Energy has acquired more than a million new customers through the marketing efforts of over 350,000 Independent Consultants and is a member of the Direct Selling Association of America. Ambit Energy generates over $1.5 billion in global revenue annually.
Individuals who are interested in the business opportunity can join as a Marketing Consultant with a one-time fee of $75 and a $24.95/monthly for website access, which is significantly less than it used to be. There is no annual renewal fee. Marketing Consultant’s receive a Business Builder Kit, personal website, access to the company’s back-office management tool, and Consultant Support Group access. Consultants are encouraged to sponsor 2 Marketing Consultants and develop an initial team of 6 Consultants. Sales Consultants who do not want to be enrolled in the company’s energy program for a one-time fee of $199.
The compensation plan offered by Ambit Energy provides multiple ways for distributors to earn an income. The utility company offers Jump Start Bonuses, Team Builder Bonuses, and Leadership Bonuses. Distributors who enroll 4 customers within the first four weeks of joining are eligible to receive a $100. Consultants who enroll customers with larger energy bills have the capability of earning more money in residual income.
There is no fee to switch to the utility service provided by Ambit Energy. The company gives individuals the opportunity to receive free energy by referring customers to switch to Ambit Energy. The utility company takes the average of the bills paid on time each month and credits that amount to the distributor’s energy bill. Distributors are also eligible to earn Travel Rewards in the form of redeemable vouchers.
Consumers in service areas covered by Ambit Energy can view rates and plans by entering their area code on the company website. Consumers can manage their accounts online and make automatic payments. As a welcome gift, Ambit Energy gives newly enrolled customers a travel voucher for a 3-day/2-night stay for two people at a choice of one of 30 nationwide destinations. Ambit Energy also offers renewable energy from sources that are environmentally friendly and reliable.
Texas customers are able to conserve energy and prevent rolling blackouts through the company’s Power Payback program. The company alerts customers when periods of high electricity demand are coming up. Customers can then adjust their thermostats and turn off any unnecessary appliances. Customers whose energy usage is lower than the average during these periods will receive a bill credit of $1.00 for every kilowatt-hour saved.
While the company does have an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau, Ambit Energy has received 570 consumer complaints in the last 3 years. 268 complaints were closed in the last 12 months. Many of these complaints appear to be in regards to billing and contract issues. Specific complaints were in regards to unexpected service costs and contract term changes.
The company met with the Better Business Bureau in 2014 concerning the pattern of complaints. Ambit Energy explained the increased cost extenuating from an increase in energy usage due to an extremely cold winter. The company also stated that it is offering adjustable rate contracts.
Ambit Energy typically offers one or two-year fixed rate contracts for its utility services. When the contracts expire, services are automatically switched to a variable rate plan unless consumers manually renew the fixed-rate plans. The company specifically states this change in their contracts, so consumers need to read these carefully before signing. Consumers have complained that some Independent Distributors do not tell them about this change.
The variable rate plans are generally much more expensive and this prompts many of the complaints and lawsuits the company has received. Consumers report difficulty in contacting the company in order to renew or change their enrolled plan.
The Better Business Bureau in Dallas notified Ambit Energy in 2015 of complaints from consumers that rates and service plans were changed without reasonable notification. Ambit Energy met with and provided the Better Business Bureau with a plan to address this pattern of complaints. The complaint activity will be monitored over the course of 6 months to determine whether or not there is a change in the pattern and the company will be reevaluated after that time.
The energy program is not yet available in all markets. This makes it to difficult to find a sponsor in your local area. This makes for great income potential in areas where there are no other competitors, but creates obstacles in regions already saturated with other distributors. Also, the payouts in the compensation plan vary by regional markets. Distributors in colder markets where energy bills are higher will tend to have greater compensation payouts than in regions with a warmer climate.
The Bottom Line
Ambit Energy offers electric and gas utility services in certain deregulated markets around the United States. Individuals are given the opportunity to save money on their energy bills and make an income by referring others to join as customers. The company offers a fixed-rate plan for one to two years that switches to a more expensive variable rate plan when the contract expires. Customers can renew the fixed rate plan but they are often unaware that they have the capability to do so. This has led the company to receive a large number of complaints and to be investigated.
The energy service is limited to a few regional areas. Interested consumers can check for local availability directly on the company’s website. The initial signup costs are expensive, but there are no renewal fees and customers can recoup the cost if they can refer enough other potential customers. Interested consumers should investigate the company thoroughly for themselves before making any investment decisions.