PSC Approves Settlement Under Which Retail Supplier Will Pay $150,000, Cease Use Of eTPV
Order Says Terms & Conditions Cannot Form "Contract" If Not Signed
"e-TPV Also Cannot Help Formulate The Contract," Order Says
January 12, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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A previously reported proposed order from a Maryland utility law judge that had proposed to approve, with certain modifications, a $150,000 settlement agreement among Statewise Energy Maryland LLC ('SWE' or 'Statewise'), Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission ('Staff') and the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel ('OPC,' together with Statewise and Staff, the 'Settling Parties') has become final, as no party appealed the proposed order
As previously reported, in addition to the $150,000 civil penalty, the now final order requires that Statewise shall discontinue using its eTPV process for in-person enrollments
As more fully discussed in our prior story, the now-final order also makes findings concerning what documents constitute a "contract", based on what documents are "signed", and finds that Statewise's eTPV can not help form a contract
The PSC in a news release said that Statewise had been suspended from door-to-door sales and telemarketing in Maryland since June of 2021. With Commission approval of the settlement agreement, that suspension is now lifted.
The $150,000 settlement resolves an investigation into Statewise's compliance with the notice requirements of Maryland's door to door sales law (Commercial Law § 14-302) as well as alleged misrepresentations
In a news release the PSC stated, "Between May 2019 and June 2021, customers complained that Statewise enrolled them without their consent and without proper contract documents, and that agents of the company told potential customers they were from their utility or a Maryland government agency and promised savings on their energy bills but then charged customers higher rates. The Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division also testified that customers were given documents showing different fee amounts for cancelling a contract than what appeared in the company’s terms and conditions."
"The case against Statewise is the latest in recent actions taken by the Commission against energy suppliers who break our rules," said Jason M. Stanek, Commission Chairman. "Over the past two-and-a-half years, the Commission has levied more than $1 million in civil penalties against energy suppliers and initiated seven formal proceedings–and revoked one supplier’s license–for deceptive marketing practices, unauthorized enrollments, and other violations."