PUC Seeks Comment on Settlement Agreement with Great American Power Concerning Company’s Sales and Marketing Practices; Stresses PA’s Regulations on Door-to-Door Sales
Published on 3/28/2019
Filed under: Electric
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for comment a settlement agreement with Great American Power LLC (Great American) following an investigation into the companies’ marketing and sales practices as a licensed electric generation supplier (EGS) in Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 5-0 to issue for comment a proposed settlement between Great American and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E). Interested parties have 20 days to file comments on the proposed settlement. Instructions on how to file are contained in the Commission’s Order.
I&E initiated an informal investigation of Great American based on a referral from the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS). BCS notified I&E of Great American’s failure to obtain local solicitation permits prior to conducting door-to-door marketing and sales activities, as well as the company’s failure to properly notify BCS and electric distribution companies (EDCs) about such activities as required in the Commission’s regulations at 52 Pa. Code, Chapter 111.
As part of the proposed settlement, the company has agreed to:
- Revise its marketing practices to potential customers;
- Ensure that its training programs for sales representatives remain compliant with PUC regulations;
- Continue notifying BCS and EDCs of the company’s door-to-door marketing and sales activities on a monthly basis; and
- Pay a civil penalty of $13,500.
The Commission stressed that supplier agents must comply with local ordinances regarding door-to-door marketing and sales activities – including local permitting requirements. In Pennsylvania, from April 1 through Sept. 30, hours for door-to-door sales and marketing expand one hour, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. When a local ordinance has stricter limitations, a supplier must comply with the local ordinance.
Consumer Tips for Energy Sales
Pennsylvania has clear rules regarding energy sales practices, and the PUC encourages consumers to understand these important protections.
Regulations require agents who conduct door-to-door activities, or appear at public events, to wear an identification badge, and consumers should immediately seek proper identification before engaging a door-to-door salesperson.
The identification badge must:
- Accurately identify the supplier, its trade name and logo;
- Display the agent’s photograph;
- Display the agent’s full name;
- Be prominently displayed; and
- Display a customer-service phone number for the supplier.
Upon first contact with a customer, an agent must identify himself by name, the energy supplier he represents, and the reason for the visit.
The agent also must make clear that he is not working for - and is independent of - the customer’s local utility or any other supplier.
Additionally, the agent may not wear apparel or accessories – or even carry equipment containing branding elements – that suggests a relationship with a utility, government agency, or other supplier.
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.
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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Docket No.: M-2018-2617335
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