PSC Raises Concern With Retail Supplier's Recent Lack Of Responsiveness To Complaint Inquiries
PSC Holds Consideration Of License Application Of Broker Affiliated With Supplier Due To Such Concerns
March 6, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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During its administrative meeting this week, the Maryland PSC deferred consideration of the electricity broker application of Breakerbox, LLC, a unit of Exelon, due to concerns about the recent lack of responses from affiliate Constellation to complaint inquiries from PSC Staff
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The concerns expressed by the PSC regarding the matter comes as the retail energy market in Maryland is under heightened scrutiny, including calls from the Office of People's Counsel and similar stakeholders for various reforms. As previously reported, the Maryland PSC recently launched a new Compliance and Enforcement Unit to engage in more proactive oversight of suppliers
As is typical in licensing proceedings before the PSC, Staff reviewed the applicant's complaint history, as well as that of any affiliates, in Maryland and other states.
While Staff did not raise any material concerns about the number of complaints about supplier affiliates of Breakerbox in other states, Staff alleged that, for the last couple of months, Constellation has, "uncharacteristically", not been responding to queries from the PSC's consumer affairs division regarding complaints filed with the division in Maryland. Staff said that in the past Exelon has always been responsive to complaints. Staff still recommended approval of the Breakerbox application. As noted below in a statement from Exelon Generation, a spokesperson for Exelon Generation attributed the non-responsiveness to an internal technical error and said that, having addressed the error, Constellation is working diligently with the consumer affairs division to resolve the complaints
While Staff had recommended approval of the Breakerbox application, PSC Chair Jason Stanek said that the note raised by Staff concerning Constellation, an affiliate of Breakerbox, is "concerning."
Commissioner Anthony O’Donnell asked about the nature of the complaints against Constellation (and/or affiliated suppliers such as BGE Home) in Maryland. Staff did not comprehensively discuss the nature of all of the complaints, but did cite two examples, one in which the complainant alleged that the agent for the supplier misrepresented themself as the State of Maryland, and another in which the complainant alleged that the agent for the supplier misrepresented themself as from Pepco. O’Donnell also said that the lack of responsiveness from Constellation to the Commission was "very concerning."
The PSC deferred consideration of Breakerbox's application until the March 18 administrative meeting so that a representative from Breakerbox, Constellation, and/or Exelon may appear before the Commission
Dave Snyder, a spokesperson for Exelon Generation, provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com concerning the matter.
"In response to the continued growth of the broker industry, Exelon Generation is launching its own broker platform as part of its commitment to simplify the commodity market for customers and provide the most effortless experience in the industry. A subsidiary of Exelon Generation, Breakerbox is a separate legal entity operating completely independent of Constellation’s competitive supply business.
"As a competitive supplier, Constellation is committed to treating our customers fairly, respectfully and responsibly and takes compliance very seriously. We look forward to developing a relationship with the Maryland Public Service Commission’s recently launched Compliance and Enforcement Unit to ensure oversight of utilities and third-party energy suppliers. Due to an unfortunate internal technical error in Constellation’s systems, the appropriate Constellation personnel did not receive several recent inquiries from the Maryland Public Service Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division. That error has since been addressed, and we’re working diligently with the Consumer Affairs Division to resolve those complaints as promptly as possible. We can also confirm that representatives from both Constellation and Breakerbox will be present at the Public Service Commission’s next hearing on March 18."
--- Statement from Dave Snyder, spokesperson for Exelon Generation
Breakerbox had originally applied for an electric broker license to serve all customer classes in all service areas. Breakerbox later amended its application to serve only commercial and industrial customers in all service areas