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Retail Suppliers Petition Pennsylvania PUC To Allow Door-to-Door Sales With "Touchless" Enrollment Process

June 16, 2020

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Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

StateWise Energy Pennsylvania LLC and SFE Energy Pennsylvania, Inc. (collectively, "StateWise") submitted to the Pennsylvania PUC a Petition for Partial Rescission, or in the alternative, Petition for Partial Waiver, of the Commission’s March 16, 2020 Emergency Order which prohibited door-to-door marketing by retail energy suppliers

"By this Petition, StateWise seeks relief from the Emergency Order such that it may commence door-to-door marketing activities, consistent with the Marketing Proposal described herein, in counties which are in the 'yellow' or 'green' phase under the Governor’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania plan," StateWise said

StateWise's proposed "touchless" enrollment process described in the Pennsylvania petition is substantially similar to a process that it had described in a similar petition from StateWise before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (see more detailed specifics in our story here). Highlights are included below.

StateWise said that, "In light of changed circumstances that have arisen subsequent to the Commission’s Emergency Order, including the fact that nearly 70% of Pennsylvania counties are in the 'green' phase, and no counties remain in the 'red' phase, and in light of StateWise’s extraordinary protective measures set forth in its Marketing Plan, StateWise respectfully seeks expedited and immediate relief from the Emergency Order such that it may commence door-to-door marketing consistent with the Marketing Plan only in those counties which are in the 'yellow' or 'green' phase."

Specifically, StateWise said that, as of June 12, 2020, almost 70% of the state of Pennsylvania is in a 'green' phase -- 46 counties in total -- while only 21 remain in the yellow phase. There are no counties in the red phase.

StateWise said that, "In counties that are designated as green or yellow, all businesses, except those that are specifically excluded in the Governor’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania Plan and the Governor’s and Secretary of Health’s orders, are permitted to conduct in-person operations so long as they adhere to the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public."

StateWise said that, "The only categories of businesses which are prohibited from resuming in-person operations in yellow phase counties are indoor recreation; health and wellness facilities; personal care services; entertainment; and indoor malls ('Prohibited Yellow Phase Businesses'). Prohibited Yellow Phase Businesses include activities in which it is difficult or impossible to practice social distancing and/or maintain necessary hygiene standards given close personal contact and/or exchange of physical objects, such as bowling, laser tag, arcades, gyms, massage therapy, casinos, and museums. However, businesses that operate outdoors, such as golf, horse riding, rock climbing, among others, are permitted to resume operations but may not operate indoor spaces for public or visitor use other than restrooms and ticketing."

StateWise said that, "In counties that have been designated as green, all businesses (including those restricted or prohibited in the yellow phase) are authorized to conduct in-person operations as long as they follow PA DOH guidelines and applicable orders from the Governor, which include occupancy limitations, disinfecting high-touch areas, conducting temperature checks, advising persons that exhibit symptoms to stay home, among other measures."

Concerning its proposed door to door process, StateWise said that it has developed, "a comprehensive touchless door-to-door enrollment procedure which maintains social distance, avoids signing or exchanging copies of sales agreements and other materials ('Touchless Enrollment')."

"The Touchless Enrollment process begins with a sales representative approaching a potential customer’s door with ... PPE [Personal Protective Equipment, as more fully described in the petition], knocking or ringing the doorbell, and then stepping back six feet from the door to wait for the potential customer to approach," StateWise said

"To the extent the potential customer has a screen door or storm door arrangement, sales representatives will be instructed and encouraged to conduct the solicitation with those physical barriers in place and/or otherwise maintain six feet of distance between any potential customer with whom the sales representative interacts," StateWise said

"At this time, StateWise will instruct and encourage sales representatives to perform solicitations through storm or screen doors where applicable and feasible, and prohibit its sales representatives from conducting door-to-door marketing indoors, such as multi-dwelling units or apartment complexes, until further guidance from PA DOH and/or the Commission. By virtue of such sales occurring outside and/or through a customer’s window or screen, the door-to-door sales activity outlined in the Marketing Proposal carries a lower public health risk than indoor customer interactions where multiple patrons could be in close proximity in a confined space or indoors with poor ventilation that traps and circulates contagions," StateWise said

StateWise said that a customer may elect a 'touchless' signing process whereby the customer will receive either a text/SMS or email prompting them to review and sign the agreement electronically on their personal mobile device. StateWise said that, otherwise, a customer may elect to sign on the sales representative’s electronic device after reviewing all of the agreement terms and conditions. Customers must affirmatively scroll through the agreement, then click 'accept terms and conditions,' or otherwise to click 'decline' to reject the enrollment at their discretion.

StateWise said that, immediately following completion of the Touchless Enrollment process, the sales representative will leave the premises and then StateWise’s TPV vendor will initiate an outbound call to the customer’s phone number to perform a live TPV consistent with 52 Pa. Code § 111.7.

See more detailed specifics on the enrollment process in our story here

Docket M-2020-3019254

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