Staff Of State Regulator Proposes Retail Suppliers Be Required To Disclose That Supplier "Competes" With Municipal Aggregation, At Start Of Marketing
Staff No Longer Recommending Suppliers Report Certain Data Concerning Low-Income Customers
Staff Invites Suppliers To Present Alternative To Use Of Customer Account Numbers For Enrollment
August 7, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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Staff of the Massachusetts DPU in a working group presentation has proposed alternative language for marketing disclosures for retail electric suppliers, compared to disclosures developed by a supplier-led work group.
Of note, in addition to a disclosure concerning that the supplier is not the utility, Staff proposes that suppliers be required to provide an additional disclaimer when marketing to a customer in a municipal aggregation community
For telemarketing and door-to-door marketing, Staff proposes that the supplier be required to state, among disclosures at the start of the call, that, "[Supplier Name] also is not affiliated with the municipal aggregation program that [Municipality Name] operates. Indeed, [Supplier Name] competes with [Program Name] to provide you with your electric supply."
Staff would also add the explicit questions at the start of a marketing pitch:
• "Are you the customer of record on your electric utility account/Does your name appear on your monthly electric bill?"
• "Would you like to learn more about our products and the value that they can provide to you?"
Turning to proposed supplier reporting requirements (see background here), Staff said in a presentation that Staff will not require the suppliers to report on the number of low-income customers enrolled via various marketing channels
Staff said that the DPU is able to get "high-level" information regarding low-income customers from the distribution companies, under protective cover, and no longer proposed that suppliers populate low-income customer info in the enrollment reports
Staff also does not recommend adopting, at this time, proposal from consumer advocates for suppliers to report on the specific rate under the enrollment reports and whether the rate increased upon renewal
Staff did note that the DPU may find the information sought by the consumer advocates to be appropriate at a later stage of reviewing the retail market, after the initial reporting requirements are adopted.
Turning to other issues in the DPU's retail market investigation, specifically market efficiency and the use of the customer account number for enrollment, Staff invited suppliers to present how other states have addressed this issue, including measures implemented to protect against unauthorized enrollments