Press Releases

PUC Reminds Electric Consumers to be Cautious of Door-to-Door and Telephone Schemes




June 11, 2014

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminds Pennsylvania residents to be diligent when weighing electricity offers from door-to-door and telephone solicitors.

“Customers can save money on their electric generation by shopping, and we encourage them to join more than 2 million of their neighbors who have already switched,” PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson said. “Like when entering any contract, customers should read the contract closely and make sure the terms of their written contract are consistent with those discussed with the salesperson.”

Since 1997, consumers have had the option to select the company that provides their electric generation. These companies are known as competitive electric generation suppliers. Local electric distribution companies, commonly referred to as utilities, will still operate and maintain the lines that provide electric to homes and businesses, but consumers are able to select the company that sells the electric power, or generation, that is delivered over those distribution lines. For more information on shopping for electricity and each component on your bill, visit www.PAPowerSwitch.com.

In recent months, especially following the recent harsh winter and significant electric generation price increases, some Pennsylvania residents have seen an increase in the number of door-to-door sales pitches and telemarking of electricity from competitive suppliers. “We want every consumer to have a positive shopping experience. We encourage shoppers to carefully weigh the offer and ensure they are dealing with legitimate suppliers before sharing account information or signing a new contract,” Chairman Powelson said. “If a consumer is uncomfortable with a sales pitch, they should contact the PUC.”

Customers who believe they have been provided with misleading information about prices, terms and conditions by an energy supplier, broker or marketer are encouraged to file an informal complaint with the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services at 1-800-692-7380. If consumers feel their safety is threatened, they should immediately call their local police.

The PUC offers the following tips to help consumers protect themselves from scams:

Door-to-door

• Supplier sales representatives are required to prominently display a photo ID showing their name and the name of the supplier for whom they are working.
• If not displayed, ask for identification.
• Suppliers will only need your account information when you are ready to make the switch.
• Utilities do not normally come to your door unless you have called them.
• If someone claims to be a utility representative and wishes to enter your home, call the utility company to verify if they have personnel in the area.

Telemarketing

• Ask for the name of the supplier.
• Ask for the price and other terms and conditions. Know and understand how it compares to your utility price.
• Only share account information over the phone if you are ready to make a switch.
• Do not feel pressured to make any decisions over the phone or immediately.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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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Contact:Deputy Press Secretary
717-787-5722


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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