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PSC Chair: Utility's Current On-Bill Comparison Of Retail Supplier Charges With Shadow-Billed SOS Costs Appears To Be An Impermissible Undue Preference In Favor Of Utility's Service

August 19, 2020

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

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In a discussion concerning the eventual approval of a 100% green SOS option for customers at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (see related story today), Maryland PSC Chairman Jason M. Stanek raised concern with a comparison of retail supplier charges to shadow-billed SOS costs which appears on SMECO consolidated bills.

Stanek stressed that the PUA provides that a utility cannot give undue or unreasonable preference in favor of the utility's own electric supply or other services.

Noting an issue raised by the Retail Energy Supply Association, Stanek noted that, on SMECO's consolidated bill for a shopping customer, SMECO provides a comparison of shadow-billed SOS costs versus the customer's charges with a retail supplier, and how much the customer would have saved if on SOS

Stanek said that this comparison appears to show a preference for SOS, and goes beyond just listing a Price to Compare as ordered by the PSC.

Stanek noted that SMECO's comparison excludes any additional value, either perceived or real, that the customer may receive from retail supplier service. While the issue was not before the PSC, Stanek said that if a complaint were made concerning the bill comparison, based on the evidence the Chairman has seen, he would vote to grant such a complaint.

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