Press Releases

PUC Weighs Two Settlements with Electric Suppliers Over Questionable Marketing Practices




August 15, 2013

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment proposed settlements with two electric generation suppliers (EGSs) over informal investigations into alleged suspect marketing practices.

The Commission voted 5-0 to issue the proposed settlements between the suppliers and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) for comment. Interested parties have 20 days to comment on the proposed settlements. Instructions on how to file comments are contained in the Commission’s Order.

IDT Energy Inc.

The proposed settlement with IDT Energy follows an informal investigation into 21 consumer complaints in connection with marketing incidents with one of the company’s independent sales agents. The PUC’s I&E alleged that IDT violated PUC regulations and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code after I&E was able to substantiate allegations of slamming and fraudulent, deceptive, or unlawful sales and marketing actions. In the settlement, the company admits no wrongdoing.

The proposed settlement includes the following actions by the company:

  • Paying a civil penalty of $39,000, which it agrees not to recover any portion from Pennsylvania consumers;
  • Complying with the PUC’s supplier marketing guidelines;
  • Retraining certain sales agents;
  • Implementing better quality control;
  • Providing the PUC with written notification of marketing activities as well as a list of independent marketers; and
  • Increasing its reporting to the PUC on consumer complaints.

AP Gas & Electric (APG&E)

The proposed settlement with APG&E follows an informal investigation into consumer allegations of slamming, which is an unauthorized change to a customer’s EGS. The PUC’s I&E alleged that APG&E violated PUC regulations and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code by failing to obtain the direct oral confirmation or written authorization from multiple customers to change their EGS supplier; engaging in fraudulent, deceptive or otherwise unlawful acts in the process of marketing services to consumers; violating the “Do Not Call” provisions of the Telemarketer Registration Act; and violating the code of conduct for licensed suppliers. In the settlement, the company admits no wrongdoing.

The proposed settlement includes the following actions by the company:

  • Paying a civil penalty of $43,200, which it agrees not to recover any portion from Pennsylvania consumers;
  • Sending annual information to its customers stating the company has no affiliation with the customer’s electric utility;
  • Providing written notice to the PUC of any changes to its marketing practices; and
  • Increasing its reporting to the PUC on consumer complaints.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility.  “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

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Docket No. M-2013-2314312; M-2013-2311811

 



Contact:Jennifer Kocher
Press Secretary
717-787-5722
jekocher@pa.gov


Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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