Energy Retailer in Trouble in Illinois
The Illinois Commerce Commission is opening an investigation against Major Energy for allegations of misrepresentation and deceptive marketing practices. The investigation will direct Major Energy to show cause why the Commission should not exercise its authority to enforce remedies and other penalties under the Public Utilities Act for alleged violations that it misrepresented savings to residential customers.
The Commission action follows an ICC staff investigation which found an increase in residential customer complaints against Major Energy in 2014, claiming that company representatives who marketed alternative energy service door-to-door failed to adequately disclose terms of the contract customers were asked to sign.
ICC staff alleges that while the sales script used by company marketers emphasized savings, there was no explanation of what rate the customer would actually pay or information disclosing that it was a variable rate and could be higher than what the customer was paying.
In some of the complaints customers indicated their bills went up significantly, noting they were paying up to 34.98 cents per kWh by Major Energy. The average price for ComEd’s residential electricity supply at the same time was 5.87 cents per kWh.
The ICC show cause order alleges violations of Administrative Code Part 412, the Consumer Fraud Act and the Public Utilities Act, which could result in an order to cease and desist operation until violations are corrected, suspension or revocation of Major Energy’s certificate to operate as an alternative energy supplier in Illinois or the imposition of fines and other penalties.
According to its website Major Energy, and its sister company Respond Power, are Energy Service Companies (ESCO) serving residential and commercial customers in the deregulated natural gas and electric markets of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts.
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