PUC Directs Two Retail Suppliers To Cease All Residential Marketing & New Enrollments; Cease Door-to-Door Marketing For C&I Customers, Until Further Order
July 15, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio directed SFE Energy Ohio, Inc. and Statewise Energy Ohio,
LLC, to cease (1) all residential marketing and new enrollments of residential gas and
electric customers, and (2) all door-to-door marketing to small commercial and mercantile
gas and electric customers, until further ordered by the Commission.
SFE Energy and Statewise had previously agreed to such cessations pending resolution of a Staff investigation of various alleged behaviors
The companies as well as PUCO Staff agree that these voluntary measures address the immediate public health and safety issues prompted by the alleged incidents that led to the investigation
SFE and Statewise provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com:
"As previously stated, SFE Energy and Statewise Energy have been working cooperatively and diligently with PUCO Staff to address this incident.
"This individual sales representative’s behavior is not reflective of SFE Energy’s strict sales training and compliance processes. As a result of this incident being brought to our attention, SFE Energy and StateWise Energy had voluntarily halted all in person sales activity in Ohio while we work with PUCO Staff to address any concerns they may have.
"The PUCO Order issued today is reflective of SFE Energy and StateWise Energy’s ongoing commitment to protecting consumers while we work with PUCO staff to resolve this matter."
--- Statement from SFE Energy and Statewise Energy
As previously reported, PUCO is currently investigating both suppliers for alleged marketing violations and customer complaints, and, with respect to SFE, alleged incidents in which a door to door agent allegedly did not follow certain health and safety protocols, in addition to other alleged marketing violations (see story and details here)
Previously, in a July 6 initial response to a show cause order, SFE Energy and Statewise had stated, "SFE Energy and Statewise Energy took direct and decisive action
immediately upon learning about the allegations in Staff’s June 30, 2020 letter and
the Entry by promptly and voluntarily ceasing all residential marketing of their
electricity and natural gas services in Ohio, including door-to-door, in-person, and
telephonic marketing. SFE Energy immediately terminated its relationship with
the independent sales representative and suspended all sales activities with the
vendor for which she was working. Out of an abundance of caution, all enrollments
submitted from the vendor in question since the Commission’s June 17, 2020
amended Order were cancelled and SFE Energy will be re-rating customers
accordingly. SFE Energy and Statewise Energy are deeply disturbed by the alleged conduct of the independent sales representative and took this immediate action to
protect the health and safety of Ohio residents. SFE Energy and Statewise Energy
respectfully submit that this voluntary action mitigates the immediate health and
safety issues raised by the Commission’s Entry."
In the July 6 filing from the companies, "SFE Energy and Statewise Energy commit to not restart residential
marketing to Ohio residential customers until SFE Energy and Statewise Energy
have prepared and submitted a compliance plan to Staff for restarting residential
marketing in Ohio in compliance with Ohio’s health and safety guidelines during
the COVID-19 pandemic."
PUCO Staff has stated that, "SFE Energy and Statewise are affiliates. SFE Energy, Inc. is the parent company of both entities, owning 100% of SFE Energy and 51% of Statewise."