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New Safeguards Due in State’s Deregulated Energy Market

Connecticut consumers will soon have new safeguards in the state’s deregulated energy market.WestportNow.com Image
Jeffrey Mayer: “Order is the product of careful effort.” Dave Matlow/WN file photo

The Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC), after months of research, discussion and input from utilities and suppliers, has released its Draft Decision on Marketing Practices.

The order lays out guidelines for suppliers and aggregators who offer electricity consumers alternate energy supply. 

Since 2007, Connecticut homeowners and businesses have been free to purchase their electricity supply from independent marketers. The regulated utilities continue to maintain the wires and provide emergency services.

Among other things, the guidelines prohibit marketers from “slamming”, or changing a customer’s provider without their knowledge and consent, and from engaging in deceptive sales and marketing practices.

In the case of aggregators, who are allowed to shop for the best deal for their customers, the guidelines prohibit exclusive relationships with individual marketers.

Among the new guidelines; suppliers must provide customers with a legible contract, in at least 10-point type, and with adequate notice of a customer’s right to cancel service. The order also sets forth guidelines on hours for door-to-door sales.

MXenergy, a Stamford-based supplier, and one of only two energy suppliers whose views and opinions were cited in the decision, said it applauds the new guidelines and the protections they offer consumers.

“This order is the product of careful effort by the DPUC and reflects a legitimate concern about aggressive sales practices in the state,” said Westporter Jeffrey Mayer, MXenergy president and CEO.

“Deceptive sales practices not only hurt consumers but make it more difficult for legitimate marketers to explain the benefits of new products that are finally available to homeowners and small businesses.”

The Draft Decision released by DPUC on Friday is still under the review process and may be subject to some changes and revisions. 

MXenergy said it does see a few areas for potential improvement and will soon be filing a supportive comment with a few minor corrections that the DPUC may want to consider.

The Commission expects to render a final decision at its meeting on March 9. 

Since energy deregulation in 1998, DPUC has licensed approximately 50 suppliers who now provide service to approximately 600,000 customers.

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