PUC Approves Settlement with Verde Energy USA Regarding Company’s Sales and Marketing Practices
Published on 9/15/2022
Filed under: Electric
Settlement Centers on Deceptive Sales Tactics, Unauthorized Customer Enrollments and Access to Customer Accounts During Three-Year Period
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) and Verde Energy USA Inc (Verde) stemming from alleged unlawful conduct related to Verde’s sales and marketing practices as a licensed electric generation supplier in Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 2-1 to adopt the Initial Decision of PUC Administrative Law Judge Christopher P. Pell – which accepted the settlement agreement between the parties and resolved the formal complaint proceeding initiated by I&E on Jan. 30, 2020. That complaint alleged that Verde, and/or a third-party marketing agent acting on Verde’s behalf, conducted deceptive and misleading sales tactics, enrolled customers without authorization, and accessed customer accounts without authorization between February 2017 and the date of the complaint.
Under the settlement agreement, Verde agrees to the following terms and conditions:
- Pay a civil penalty of $1 million. No amount of the civil penalty may be passed through as an additional charge to Verde’s Pennsylvania customers.
- Pay $75,000 to PPL Electric’s Hardship Fund.
- Provide a refund to each customer identified in the complaint who enrolled with Verde - equal to the first two months of electric supply charges, less any amounts previously refunded to the customer.
- Notify customers identified in the complaint who alleged unauthorized enrollment by Verde of the potential refund of early termination fees, and steps required to secure a refund.
- Provide a refund of any early termination fees to each customer identified in the complaint who alleged unauthorized enrollment by Verde and can provide proof of payment of an early termination fee.
- Provide quarterly summaries for a two-year period to I&E relating to Verde’s ongoing sales and marketing activities in Pennsylvania – including the number and type of customer complaints and disputes received by Verde, as well providing written notice to I&E of any changes to its practices and procedures related to marketing in Pennsylvania.
The PUC 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.
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Docket No.: C-2020-3017229
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