HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment a proposed settlement agreement (settlement) with Great American Power LLC (Great American) following an informal investigation into Great American’s marketing and sales practices as a licensed electric generation supplier (supplier) in Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 5-0 to issue for comment the proposed settlement between Great American and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E). I&E began an informal investigation following allegations of aggressive marketing tactics by third-party representatives of the supplier as well as use of improper third-party verification calls during outside telemarketing efforts. Pennsylvania regulations require transactions by sales agents to be verified by the customer, separate from the transaction process, before a contract is finalized.
Interested parties have 20 days to file comments on the settlement. Instructions on how to file comments are contained in the Commission’s Order.
Provisions of the settlement include that the company has taken or will take the following actions:
Implement revisions to its operating procedures intended to safeguard against future unauthorized marketing practices of employees or agents of Great American;
Hire in-house counsel and additional compliance personnel;
Actively engage outside counsel for compliance matters;
Institute a revised internal compliance policy;
Terminate its relationship with the third-party marketer involved in the violations, and contracting with a new compliant third-party marketer;
Improve upon training materials for third-party marketers; and
Pay an $18,000 civil penalty, of which no portion can be recovered from Pennsylvania consumers.
After its investigation, I&E concluded that outside sales agents acting on behalf of Great American engaged in marketing conduct and sales practices that failed to meet established standards and practices pursuant to Commission regulations, including violations regarding both “Standards for Changing a Customer’s Electricity Generation Supplier” and telemarketing activity by outside agents as described in Chapter 111 of the Public Utility Code.
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.
# # #
Docket No.: M-2016-2536806