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PSC Prepares To Adopt Revisions To Retail Energy Marketing Rules

Revisions Address Scope, Applicability To Non-residential Customers

January 14, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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The Maryland PSC has scheduled for February 6, 2019 a rule making session to consider, "whether to finally adopt the proposed revisions to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 20.32, 20.50, 20.53, 20.55, and 20.59 addressing competitive markets and retail gas and electric choice that were published for notice and comment in the Maryland Register dated December 7, 2018."

Among the proposed changes are revisions to the Supplier Agent Relations rules for electricity and natural gas

For both electric and natural gas, the revisions would make explicit that the section addressing Supplier Agent Relations rules, which make suppliers responsible for agents' behavior and includes the background check process, "applies to supplier services to residential customers."

Furthermore, the revised Supplier Agent Relations rules would revise the background check process applicable to door-to-door agents.

Under the proposed revisions, the criminal history record shall be updated no less than every 36 months, and shall be obtained from either:

(1) The Maryland Criminal Justice Information System and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and from all other states in which the person resided within at least the last 12 months; or

(2) A criminal history records check conducted by the supplier or a third party that includes, at a minimum, the following:

      (a) An all-county search through the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts, and from all other states in which the person resided within at least the last 12 months;

      (b) A nationwide federal criminal court search, such as the Federal Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) System;

      (c) A national multi-state, multi-jurisdictional criminal database search with validation conducted by a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners; and

      (d) The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry.

Other proposed revisions would codify that in the event of a discrepancy between a supplier’s open offer posted on the PSC's website and the supplier’s corresponding open offer displayed on the supplier’s website, the supplier shall honor the terms that are more favorable to the customer.

Language regarding non-residential rescission would make explicit that, for non-residential customers, a supplier is not required to offer a contract rescission period, "except where required by law."

The proposal also strikes from the current non-residential rules language providing that, "A customer's request to cancel service with the customer's current retail supplier under this regulation [Cancellation of Supply Service] does not limit cancellation provisions contained in the customer's service agreement with the supplier."

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