A: “I would challenge the charges before signing a contract,” says Jill Soth, corporate event manager for Avnet Computer Marketing in Phoenix. “If the hotel has increased costs due to energy shortages, then I want the hotel to supply me with more information, such as documentation about where their costs have gone up and what they are doing to defray them.” If a hotel presented charges after-the-fact, she says, “I wouldn't pay them. By law, a hotel can't bill us for something that is not in the contract.”

A: “Energy surcharges in California have some validity. I would question such charges outside California. I would want to know why and find out if there really is an energy crisis,” says Michele Snock, manager of meeting services for Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif., who has faced energy surcharges of $2.50 to $3.00 per room per night across the board in California and elsewhere in the U.S. “I'd rather [the hotel] put it in the room rate instead of adding it as a surcharge.” Within California, Snock says she is asking hotels to roll surcharges into room rates; outside California, she fights the charges.