City warns residents about gas service pitches

The City of Evanston is warning residents about alternative natural gas supplier solicitations after receiving numerous complaints.

Residents report that a door-to-door salesperson visited their residence carrying a clipboard, helmet and badge, and solicited them to buy their products. These suppliers do not represent the utility company or the city, nor are they affiliated with any city program.

Residents are advised to not sign up with any gas or electricity supplier on the spot, and to not give out their utility account numbers or show their utility bills.

Soliciting is only permitted in Evanston between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It is prohibited on Sundays and on state and federal holidays. All solicitors and peddlers operating in the City of Evanston are required to apply for a license to operate in the community.

Residents who wish to prohibit individuals from soliciting them at their home can give notice by posting a weatherproof “No Soliciting” card, 3 by 5 inches or larger on or near a main entrance. A sample sign is available online.

Solicitors who disregard prohibited hours or a posted “No Soliciting” sign, or who fail to leave after being requested to do so are in violation of th city code, and may be subject to a fine or community service.  

Residents or businesses can call the non-emergency Police Department number, 847-866-5000, to report any unsolicited door-to-door gas or electricity suppliers that claim to represent the city or uses inappropriate tactics. Complaints against a particular supplier can also be logged with the Illinois Commerce Commission online or by calling 1-800-524-0795.

Several residents have identified the solicitors at their doors as claiming to represent a company called Just Energy, which has received a variety of negative reviews on Yelp and has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

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