PSC Denies Retail Supplier's License Application, As Staff Raises Concerns With Complaints In Other States
February 13, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Maryland PSC denied the application of Mega Energy of Maryland, LLC for an electricity supplier license as PSC Staff ("Staff") raised concerns with the number of complaints received against the company's affiliates in other states (Mega Energy of Maryland and such affiliates collectively referred to as, "the company")
A Mega Energy representative provided the following statement concerning the matter to EnergyChoiceMatters.com: "We are disappointed that the Maryland PSC denied our initial request. We are currently evaluating our options in response to the PSC’s feedback. We take pride in offering the best possible service to our customers and review each and every complaint in efforts to continually improve our operations. The 38 complaints cited by Staff, when compared against all customer relationships served in Texas during 2019, represents less than a quarter of one percent of our valued Texan customer base, suggesting the other 99%+ were not unsatisfied with our service. We believe a central failure on the part of Mega Energy was at issue here during this process, during which we may not have responded to PSC requests sufficiently timely or thoroughly, for which we apologize. Going forward, we will be thanking the Maryland PSC Staff for bringing its concerns to our attention, and we will be responding to the Staff with more information and details indicating a very happy overall customer base, including, for example, our 4.5/ 5 Google review rating and our present A rating with the Better Business Bureau."
In its recommendation that the PSC deny the license, Staff had stated that, "Staff is concerned about the high level of complaints filed against the Company, and notes that the Company has the second highest level of complaints among all electricity suppliers in Texas for the period of July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019," referencing the Texas PUC's complaint scorecard."
In the recommendation, Staff stated, "Staff was informed the Company had one complaint in Connecticut in 2019, 44 inquiries in Illinois between November 2018 and April 2019, 21 complaints in Massachusetts over the past two years, 5 complaints in New Hampshire, 20 complaints in Ohio, and 38 complaints in Texas in 2019."
Concerning the nature of the complaints, Staff said in its recommendation that, in Texas, the majority of inquiries are in the Billing category. Staff said in its recommendation that, "Mega Energy says as a result of historically high real-time price spikes within the August-September 2019 timeframe, the Company was forced to increase its variable month to month rate and that increase, along with higher than normal demand ... resulted in higher bills for that time frame."
In the recommendation, Staff represented that Staff contacted the company regarding its complaint record in other states and was informed that since mid-2019 Mega Energy has completely changed its internal procedures related to customer inquiries through state-initiated channels.
During the February 12 administrative meeting, Commissioner Anthony O’Donnell asked Staff if Mega's response to Staff's inquiry, in which Mega Energy stated that it has completely changed its internal procedures, indicated to Staff, "what they changed, what the nature of their changes were, if they even applied to complaints, directly or indirectly."
A representative for PSC Staff responded that Mega had stated that it had changed its procedures, but that the response to Staff's inquiry did not include such specific information. O’Donnell indicated that the lack of any specific information about any changes was a concern. A Mega Energy representative provided the following additional statement: “We thank the Maryland PSC for its openness. Overall, we believe a lack of adequate communication with the Maryland PSC was indeed a pivotal issue thus far; more prompt and thorough responses from Mega Energy, to the Maryland PSC, will be a top priority going forward with regard to subsequent application processes and responses, and we will be proceeding in the future accordingly.”