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PUC Requires Suppliers To File Notice Of Specific Door-to-Door Marketing Times, Locations As Part Of Resumption

PUC Warns Supplier Of Strict Enforcement Of Door-to-Door Rules

PUC Ends Prohibition On Door-to-Door Marketing By Retail Energy Suppliers, Brokers

June 17, 2020

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Copyright 2010-20
Reporting by Paul Ring •

Updated, 3:15 p.m.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's written order allowing door-to-door marketing to resume provides that, "we find that door-to-door solicitation of CRES [competitive retail electric service] and CRNGS [competitive retail natural gas service] may resume, subject to all relevant requirements and best practices issued by the Ohio Department of Health and any relevant local health authority."

PUCO directed CRES providers and CRNGS suppliers to follow the directives set forth below when they resume door-to-door solicitation.

"The Director of the Ohio Department of Health has noted, in an Urgent Health Advisory on May 20, 2020, the ongoing nature of the public health emergency and advises that elderly and the vulnerable, due to other health conditions, are at higher risk for severe illness and are urged (but not required) to take additional precautions to stay at home. Given the nature of door-to-door solicitations and the potential impact to the elderly, vulnerable populations, or others in their homes, the Commission urges CRES providers and CRNGS suppliers to proceed with caution and strict adherence to the relevant requirements and best practices issued by the Ohio Department of Health and any relevant local health authorities to ensure the health and safety of Ohioans," PUCO said

"Before commencing any door-to-door solicitation campaign, the Commission directs CRES and/or CRNGS suppliers to report, in writing, to the Director of the Commission’s Service Monitoring and Enforcement Department (SMED), or his designee, the times, dates, duration, and locations where a CRES and/or CRNGS supplier intends to engage in door-to-door solicitations at least 48 hours prior to beginning such solicitations," PUCO said

"Further, in the event any CRES provider or CRNGS supplier, or their agent, receives, from a state or local enforcement authority, a warning or more formal citation for failure to comply with such requirements and best practices, including any applicable local 'Do Not Knock' registry or solicitation permitting provisions, the CRES provider or CRNGS supplier shall immediately forward the warning or citation to the Director of SMED, or his designee," PUCO ordered

"We also clarify that we will treat a violation of our rules or any relevant health code violations committed by an agent of a CRES provider or CRNGS supplier the same as if the violation were committed by an employee of the provider or supplier," PUCO said

"Additionally, Ohio Adm.Code 4901:1-21-06(D)(1)(j) and 4901:1-29-05(E)(3) require a CRES provider and a CRNGS supplier to leave the premises of a customer when requested to do so by the customer. If the Commission receives complaints that a CRES provider or CRNGS supplier, or its agent, fails to leave a customer’s premises immediately upon request, the Commission will investigate and strictly enforce these provisions using our full statutory authority," PUCO said

PUCO also ordered that CRES providers and CRNGS suppliers may resume scheduling in-person appointments for residential customers (the resumption of non-residential appointments was previously allowed). PUCO also previously allowed in-store marketing to resume

"[T]he Commission notes that the above reasoning may also apply to the resumption of scheduling in-person appointments for residential customers. Such appointments can only be scheduled with the consent of the customer. Any meeting must also conform to any and all relevant requirements and best practices issued by the Ohio Department of Health, as well as any guidance or order from any relevant local health authority," PUCO said

"[S]ubject to the restrictions and reporting requirements set forth above, CRES providers and CRNGS suppliers may immediately resume door-to-door solicitations, including, but not limited to, scheduling in-person appointments with residential customers, within the parameters identified in this Entry," PUCO ordered


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio voted at its meeting today to adopt an order ending the prohibition on door-to-door marketing by retail electric and natural gas suppliers, brokers, and similar entities, subject to conditions set forth in the order

A written order was not immediately available. This story will be updated once an order is issued. Check this page (and refresh the page if needed) for updates

Various state and/or local health requirements from relevant health agencies will still apply. During a discussion at today's meeting, Commissioner Daniel Conway said that he expected suppliers to follow state health directives such as masking, six-foot social distancing, etc.

During the meeting, it was noted that, under existing PUCO rules, if a customer states that they are not interested upon being greeted by a door-to-door agent, the agent is required to cease marketing to that individual at such time, and not attempt to continue marketing

Commissioner Lawrence Friedeman stressed that the order sets an expectation for "strict" compliance with state and local requirements with respect to market behavior, as well as PUCO rules.

PUCO Chair Sam Randazzo emphasized to suppliers that the Commission is prepared to address any problems (e.g. customer complaints) which arise as a result of the resumption of door-to-door marketing

Cases 20-1040-GE-UNC, 20-591-AU-UNC

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