HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today finalized interim guidelines for marketing and sales practices for electric generation suppliers (EGSs) and natural gas suppliers (NGSs).
The Commission voted 4-1 to approve guidelines that cover a wide range of topics and recommend best practices for direct (door-to-door) marketing and telemarketing and sales. The proposed guidelines will apply to both EGSs and NGSs and to any entity conducting activities on their behalf. Commission Vice Chairman Tyrone J. Christy issued a dissenting statement.
More and more EGSs and NGSs are entering the state’s retail electric and natural gas supply markets. As a result, more and more consumers are being exposed to unfamiliar marketing strategies and sales techniques including direct sales or door-to-door sales. The Commission said suppliers will be expected to conduct themselves with the guidelines in mind so that their sales and marketing activities do not call into question the fairness and integrity of the competitive market.
The interim guidelines were developed by the PUC’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight as a result of meetings held with PUC working groups including CHARGE (Committee Handling Activities for Retail Growth in Electricity) and SEARCH (Stakeholders Exploring Avenues to Remove Competitive Hurdles).
The Commission plans to initiate a rulemaking process but because the rulemaking process can take a year or more to complete, the interim guidelines will provide direction and be effective until final regulations are completed. The Commission said the guidelines should not be used as a shield and suppliers are expected to conduct their marketing activities in good faith and with fair dealing with customers.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
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Docket no. M-2010-2185981