PUC Seeks Comment on Proposed Settlements with Retail Energy Suppliers Concerning Sales & Marketing Practices
Published on 10/28/2021
Filed under: Electric
Proposed Settlements with Greenlight Energy and Discount Power Center on Misleading and Deceptive Telemarketing, Unauthorized Enrollments
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment a pair of proposed settlement agreements between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) and two electric generation suppliers – Greenlight Energy Inc. (Greenlight) and Discount Power, Inc. (Discount). Both proposed settlements center on, but are not limited to, alleged misleading and deceptive telemarketing practices and unauthorized customer enrollments.
The Commission voted 3-0 to issue for comment the proposed settlement between I&E and Greenlight stemming from alleged misleading and deceptive telemarketing practices and unauthorized customer enrollments completed by third-party vendors acting on behalf of Greenlight. I&E had initiated an investigation into the alleged violations based on a referral from the PUC’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) and five informal customer complaints.
Pursuant to the proposed settlement, Greenlight will pay a total civil penalty of $8,250, with the penalty not being tax deductible or passed through as an additional charge to Greenlight’s customers in Pennsylvania.
Additionally, the Commission voted 3-0 to issue for comment the proposed settlement between I&E and Discount concerning I&E’s informal investigation into possible violations of the Public Utility Code and specific consumer protections regulations – including misleading and deceptive telemarketing; billing of incorrect rates; failure to issue renewal letters; unauthorized enrollments; and lack of record keeping. I&E had initiated the informal investigation into the alleged violations based on a referral from OCMO.
Pursuant to the proposed settlement, Discount will do the following:
- Pay a total civil penalty of $42,250, with the penalty not being tax deductible or passed through as an additional charge to Discount’s customers in Pennsylvania;
- Create and implement a robust customer complaint tracking system which will include the inquiry, dispute or complaint, subsequent communications between the supplier and the customer, and the resolution of the inquiry, dispute or complaint;
- Train its customer service agents on the new system and ensure that all information logged into the system is detailed, accurate and responsive to the inquiry, dispute or complaint; and
- Process, investigate and be responsive to a customer inquiry, dispute or complaint within a 6-month period of time from the date the inquiry, dispute or complaint is received.
Within 25 days of the date of entry of these Orders, interested parties may file comments on the proposed settlements - in accordance with the Commission’s Emergency Order at Docket No. M-2020-3019262. All comments shall be filed through the PUC’s eFiling system. Instructions on eFiling, including how to open a PUC eFiling account, are contained in the Commission’s Orders.
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