PSC Staff Seeks Show Cause Order Against Retail Supplier Due To Three Alleged Instances Of Slamming, One Alleged Instance Of Misrepresentation As Utility
May 13, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Staff of the Public Service Commission of Maryland ("Staff") filed a complaint pursuant to Section 20.07.03 of the Code of Maryland Regulations ("COMAR") requesting
that the Commission issue an order directing that SmartEnergy Holdings d/b/a SmartEnergy
("SmartEnergy") show cause why its license to provide electricity and electricity supply services
should not be suspended or revoked or, in the alternative, why the Company should not be
precluded from soliciting additional customers and why SmartEnergy should not be subject to a
civil penalty under Sections 7-507 and 13-201 of the Public Utilities Article ("PUA") of the
Annotated Coded of Maryland for what Staff alleged was, "committing fraud and engaging in deceptive practices and for
failing to comply with the Commission's consumer protection regulations contained in COMAR
20.51.07 and 20.53.07."
Staff alleged in the complaint that, "The Commission's Consumer Affairs Division ('CAD') received complaint
number 318337015-L where SmartEnergy agreed the customer's enrollment was invalid."
Staff alleged in the complaint that, "CAD received two complaints (818340037-L and 918340575-W) alleging
slamming where CAD determined that the customer had been slammed."
Staff alleged in the complaint that, "CAD received complaint number 1018341096-L alleging that SmartEnergy stated
it was affiliated with BGE, and when the customer called the next day to cancel the customer
claimed SmartEnergy said the customer didn't have a good reason to cancel. CAD ruled for the
customer in this complaint."
SmartEnergy issued the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com concerning Staff's complaint:
"SmartEnergy takes matters such as these very seriously. After review, two of the three incidents cited involve family members including a spouse and a mother, both with the same last name. Each caller stated on a recorded line that they were an authorized decision maker on the account. The third customer’s order was cancelled by us immediately after their call but unfortunately BGE did not process the cancellation. We very much appreciate the work done by the Maryland Public Service Commission, and will work with them to resolve their concerns."
Staff alleged in the complaint that, "Each and every one of the above actions constitutes a deceptive practice or other
prohibited act in violation of the Commission's consumer protections regulations for which a
civil penalty or other remedy may be assessed."
Aside from the issues described above, Staff did not list in the complaint any other allegations that prompted the request for the order to show cause
Staff requested that the Commission require SmartEnergy to, "fil[e] evidence showing just cause as to why its license to provide electricity services
should not be suspended or revoked or, in the alternative, why the Company should
not be precluded from soliciting additional customers and/or why SmartEnergy
should not be subject to a civil penalty under PUA sections 7-507 and 13-201 for (a)
committing fraud (b) engaging in deceptive practice (c) slamming, and (d) failing to
comply with the Commission's consumer protection regulations as contained in
COMAR 20.59.07. PUA section 7-507(1) states that an electricity supplier or person
selling or offering to sell electricity in the State in violation of this section, after
notice and an opportunity for a hearing, is subject to a civil penalty of not more than
$10,000 for the violation; or license revocation or suspension. Each day a violation
continues is a separate violation."