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Press Release

PUC Offers Five Simple Tips to Safeguard Consumers Amid Rising In-Person and Door-to-Door Energy Sales Activity

Published on 5/2/2024

Filed under: Consumer Education Electric Gas

Consumers Urged to #CheckForID and Explore Resources that Could Help Identify Energy Cost Savings for the Upcoming Cooling Season

HARRISBURG – With the resurgence of in-person sales and marketing efforts fueled by the onset of warmer weather and continuing fluctuations in energy prices, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is urging consumers to understand how to protect themselves from questionable energy marketing sales pitches – and explore resources that could help them identify possible energy cost savings for the upcoming cooling season.

“The Commission’s rules and regulations provide a number of necessary protections to help customers avoid falling victim to unscrupulous sales agents,” stated PUC Chairman Stephen M. DeFrank. “Nonetheless, the Commission encourages customers to be attentive and careful when shopping for retails energy products in order to better recognize deceptive sales tactics.”

According to the PUC, there are five simple tips that will help consumers identify legitimate energy sales offers and avoid potential scams:

  • Tip #1: Always #CheckForID
    Pennsylvania mandates that energy sales agents conducting door-to-door activities or appearing at public events must prominently display an ID badge including:
    • Accurate identification of the supplier, including its trade name and logo.
    • A photograph of the sales agent.
    • The full name of the sales agent.
    • A customer-service phone number to contact the supplier.

  • Tip #2: Know Who You are Dealing With
    Upon initial contact, energy sales agents must clearly identify themselves by name, the energy supplier they represent, and the purpose of their visit or phone call. Consumers should ensure that the details on the agent’s ID badge match the introductory information provided.

  • Tip #3: No False Claims about Utilities or other Entities
    Energy sales agents are strictly prohibited from claiming to represent the customer’s local utility, another supplier, or government agencies like the PUC. They must not wear clothing or carry items suggesting affiliation with utilities or other entities.

  • Tip #4: Avoid Deceptive or High-Pressure Sales
    Consumers should steer clear of sales pitches pressuring them to act immediately. Agents must respect a customer's request to leave the premises and honor requests to be exempted from future door-to-door sales activities. Suspected scams should be reported to the PUC's Bureau of Consumer Services.

  • Tip #5: Shop Around – Compare Prices using PAPowerSwitch & PAGasSwitch
    Consumers are encouraged to explore alternatives through neutral, independent websites such as the PUC’s official and shopping sites, which provide access to supplier offerings, educational materials, and information on energy efficiency and conservation. The PUC’s PAPowerSwitch shopping site has been recently updated to make shopping for electric supply offers and comparing those offers even easier.

PUC Underscores Energy Marketing Guidelines

In a recent PUC Secretarial Letter to competitive electric generation and natural gas suppliers (suppliers), along with consumer and small business advocates, the Commission underscored what is expected of suppliers in any sales and marketing activities and the PUC’s imposition of fines and penalties on suppliers for non-compliance with regulations.

The Commission’s outreach addressed sales and marketing activities related to telemarketing, door-to-door sales, direct mail and electronic solicitations, and a supplier’s use of agents, vendors and/or contractors. The PUC continually monitors suppliers and their sales and marketing activities through both the PUC’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight and its Bureau of Consumer Services.

Additional Consumer Safeguards

Pennsylvania regulations also mandate energy suppliers to conduct criminal background checks on all door-to-door agents. Furthermore, door-to-door energy sales hours are restricted to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. between April 1 through Sept. 30, unless local ordinances impose stricter limitations.

More information on regulations governing marketing and sales practices in Pennsylvania's residential energy market is available online.

For more information or to file a complaint, consumers can contact the PUC's Bureau of Consumer Services at 1-800-692-7380.

About the PUC

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.

Visit the PUC’s website at for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.

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