PSC Staff Seek Revocation Of Previously Suspended Supplier's License
September 9, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission has requested that the Commission revoke Smart One Energy, LLC's natural gas supplier license and direct that the full $250,000 amount of a bond previously provided by Smart One Energy be paid to the
As previously reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, the PSC suspended Smart One Energy, LLC's license and issued a fine of $561,000 for, as determined with respect to three complaint cases, not having a signed contract (wet signature) from the customer for customers enrolled telephonically, for transactions which were not exempt from the Maryland Telephone Solicitation Act's wet signature requirement
Staff said, "Effective December 18, 2012, Smart One Energy, LLC ('Smart One'), as Principal, and
the Platte River Insurance Company, as Surety, provided the Maryland Public Service
Commission (the 'Commission'), as Obligee, with Bond No. 41270416 in the amount of Two
Hundred-Fifty Thousand ($250,000) Dollars (the 'Bond') to guarantee and secure Smart One's
obligations under Maryland statutes and regulations as a licensed gas supplier in Maryland. By
the terms of the Bond, the Bond becomes due if the Commission determines that Smart One is
financially insolvent or unable to meet its obligations as a licensed gas supplier in Maryland. In
addition, Platte River Insurance Company agreed to permit the Commission to direct that the
proceeds of the Bond be paid to satisfy Smart One's financial obligations to the Commission. By
correspondence dated August 7, 2019, Platte River Insurance Company gave notice of
cancellation of the Bond with an effective date of October 11, 2019."
Staff said, "For the reasons set forth below, Staff requests that the Commission order the forfeiture of
the Bond and direct that the proceeds of the Bond in the total amount of $250,000 be paid to the
Commission pursuant to its terms as partial satisfaction of Smart One's financial obligations to the Commission. In addition, Staff requests the Commission revoke the license (License No. IR-
2355) of Smart One to do business in Maryland as a supplier of natural gas."
Staff said, "On August 2, 2019, in Order No. 89219, the Commission found that Smart One had
violated Maryland law and Commission regulations. In response to those violations, the
Commission (1) suspended Smart One's Retail Supplier License; (2) ordered Smart One to pay a
civil penalty in the amount of $561,000 within 10 business days of the date of issuance of the
order; (3) ordered that Smart One provide refunds to three customers identified in Staffs initial
Complaint; (4) ordered that Smart One provide a particular notice to its customers and then
provide notice to the Commission by August 9, 2019 of its compliance with that order; and (5)
ordered that all of Smart One's existing customers be returned to default utility service for
natural gas supply."
Staff said, "On August 14, 2019, the Commission issued a Notice of Default, finding that Smart One
had failed to provide the notice required by Order No. 89219 above and was therefore in default
of its obligations as a natural gas supplier in Maryland under Md. Code Ann., Public Utilities
Article ('PUA') §§ 7-603 and 7-507 and under Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Title
20. On August 22, 2019, the Commission issued a Supplemental Notice of Default, finding that
Smart One had failed to pay the above civil penalty and was thus again in default of its
obligations as a natural gas supplier in Maryland."
Staff noted that more than 30 days have elapsed since the Commission issued Order No. 89219, and no party or person has sought judicial review.
Staff alleged, "Smart One's has failed to pay the civil penalty issued by the Commission on August 2,
2019. As the Commission noted in its August 22,2019 Supplemental Notice of Default, Smart
One's failure to pay the civil penalty imposed by the Commission in Order No. 89219 establishes
that Smart One is unable to meet its obligations as a licensed natural gas supplier in Maryland
and Smart One is in default under the terms of the Bond. Among other obligations, Smart One
has an outstanding obligation of $561,000 owed to the Commission. Smart One has not appealed
or otherwise challenged the validity of Order No. 89219 within the time provided under PUA § 3-201 (b), and that Order is now final. Staff recommends therefore that the Commission
direct that the Bond shall be paid immediately to the Commission to satisfy in part that unpaid
Staff alleged, "The Commission has already found that Smart One has violated Maryland laws and
regulations. Smart One's failure to comply with the directives in Order No. 89219 is a violation
of a Commission order and further demonstrates that Smart One is unwilling or unable to meet
its obligations. Under PUA §§ 7-507 and 7-603, the Commission has the authority to revoke a
natural gas supplier's license for just cause, which is defined to include, among other things: (iv) committing fraud or engaging in deceptive practices;
(v) failing to maintain financial integrity;
(vi) violating a Commission regulation or order; ...
(viii) violating a provision of this article or any other applicable consumer
protection law of the State.
In Order No. 89219 and in its subsequent Notices of Default, the Commission has found
that Smart One has committed all of these violations. In light of Smart One's continuing failure
to comply with the Commission's Orders and Maryland law, the Commission has just cause to
direct the forfeiture of Smart One's Bond and to revoke Smart One's license to supply natural
gas, and Staff recommends that it do so."
"For the foregoing reasons, the Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission respectfully
requests that the Commission direct that the full $250,000 amount of the Bond be paid to the
Commission and, further, that the Commission revoke Smart One's license (License No. IR-
2355) to supply natural gas in Maryland," Staff said