PSC Staff Seeks Order Enjoining Retail Supplier From Marketing
Complaint Alleges Agents Said They Were From Utility, Needed To Check If Meters Still Turning Due To Pandemic
May 21, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Staff of the Public Service Commission of Maryland (Staff) filed a Motion to Enjoin
Statewise Energy Maryland, LLC from marketing in Maryland during the pendency of a complaint proceeding brought by Staff against Statewise
Staff alleged that, as previously reported, "The Compliance and Enforcement Unit ('CEU') within the Consumer Affairs Division
('CAD') of the Maryland Public Service Commission conducted an investigation into the business
practices of StateWise Energy Maryland, LLC ('StateWise') sparked by CAD receiving a high volume
(40) of complaints in a one year period (May 2019 – May 2020) by customers of StateWise. The
CEU's investigation into StateWise's marketing and enrollment practices revealed a pattern of
That prompted Staff to file a complaint against StateWise and to seek a show cause order against StateWise, and the PSC delegated the matter to a public utility law judge for hearing
Staff has now alleged that StateWise continues to be engaged in marketing that violates applicable marketing rules, prompting Staff to seek a motion to enjoin StateWise from marketing.
Staff alleged, "Based on recent complaints received by CAD, StateWise is
currently actively engaged in illegal, unlawful and fraudulent marketing practices of the same or similar
character as those alleged in the CEU Referral Memorandum, Staff's Complaint, and the 64 consumer
complaints referenced in Staff's Complaint."
"StateWise is currently soliciting new customers by door-to-door channels and the violations
and illegal practices set forth in the CAD Referral Memorandum, Staff's Complaint, and above are likely to
continue to the irreparable harm to Maryland consumers," Staff alleged
Staff alleged, "CAD Complaint 521348647-W filed on May 5, 2021, states: '2 door-to-door Statewise
salesman came to the door, claimed to be from Pepco and Washington Gas and said because of the pandemic
they needed to verify that 'the meters were still turning,' and would need to see and scan one of our bills so
they could 'cross us off the list.' When I asked to see some ID, they flashed badges indicating they were from Statewide. (sic) Asked why they claimed to be from other Pepco and WG, they denied that is what they had
said. When they went to the house next door they once again said they were from WG and Pepco and said they
needed to scan bills to verify addresses 'because of the pandemic.' Clearly these two were trying to sneakily
change people's energy sources. We have many salesmen from energy companies, but this is the first time
people have tried to say they were from Pepco and WG. According to our neighborhood listserv (sic), the 2
continued to move through the neighborhood repeating the same story over and over.'"
Staff alleged, "CAD Complaint 421348625-W filed on April 30, 2021 states: 'Representatives from
StateWise Energy solicited me on 4/30/2021 requesting a copy of my BG&E bill for '$pricing verification.'
Representative stated he was working on behalf of BG&E to ensure our electric utility price didn't go up due
to working at home. I was a prior victim of slamming in the past and know that this was an attempt to enroll
me in service without my consent. This will be the third attempt to switch suppliers from both StateWise Energy
and Inspire within the last two weeks. I want this to be known with the hopes of preventing others from falling
victim to this fraudulent and predatory behavior.'"
Staff alleged, "CAD Complaint 521348646 filed on April 23, 2021, details of the dispute states: 'D2d
solicitation by StateWise Energy for electric service in 2020. Told charges were lower for electric than BG&E.
Never received a contract or any other documents. Found that StateWise signed the customer up for gas service.
Requesting a refund because both services were cancelled.'"
"As the above three recent consumer complaints illustrate, despite Staff's Complaint, StateWise
is continuing to engage in marketing practices in violation of Maryland consumer law and these practices are
generating additional complaints and pose a harm or potential harm to Maryland consumers," Staff alleged
Staff said, "Under Public Utilities Article, Annotated Code of Maryland §7-507(k)(n) the Commission
may order an electricity supplier to cease adding or soliciting additional customers or to cease serving customers
in the state. Moreover, PUA § 7-507(n) does not include the 'just cause' restriction spelled out in PUA§ 7-
507(k). Thus the ability to prohibit an electricity supplier from adding additional customers or even serving
customers is a purely discretionary power of the Commission, and should be used when necessary to further
the public interest."
"Staff requests that the PULJ order StateWise to cease and desist marketing to new customers
in Maryland during the pendency of this matter because of the ongoing harm to Maryland consumers. StateWise
Energy's business practices constitute a pattern and practice of violation of Maryland Consumer laws. The
harm is ongoing as illustrated by the additional three CAD complaints listed above," Staff said