States Move to Protect Retail Electricity Customers

Two states have moved to protect residential customers from aggressive pricing tactics employed by retail suppliers.

Pennsylvania Cracks Down on Variable-Rate Contracts

Energy Choice Matters reported that Energy Services Providers agreed to a settlement under which it would return $2.3 million to customers of its Pennsylvania subsidiary Pennsylvania Gas and Electric (PaG&E). This amount is in addition to $4.5 million already returned, bringing the total amount to $6.8 million. The settlement prevents the company from selling new variable-rate products to customers for the next 18 months. It also places strict limitations on the company’s contractual and marketing language to ensure that customers have transparent decision-making information. Some of these restrictions could serve as precedent in Pennsylvania for protecting customers from other marketers employing this type of aggressive marketing tactic.

Rhode Island Issues Customer Bill of Rights

According to an article in RetailEnergyX, Rhode Island State Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy introduced a bill (H-5978) to create a “bill of rights” for electric customers that is similar to recent Connecticut legislation. If enacted, the law would require suppliers to provide 15 days notice before increasing residential prices by more than 25 percent above the original contract price, or the supplier’s most recent price notification. The bill would also:

  • Limit door-to-door sales to daytime hours.
  • Limit termination fees to the lesser of $50 or twice the customer’s average monthly bill.
  • Require the PUC to develop a standard form contract summary/disclosure statement, create a supplier rate board, and conduct an accelerated switching feasibility study.
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