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PUC Staff Seek $1.5 Million Forfeiture Against Retail Supplier; Revocation Or Suspension Of License; Return Of Some Customers To Default Service

June 13, 2022

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Copyright 2010-21
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have filed a formal report of their investigation into RPA Energy, Inc., d/b/a Green Choice Energy for alleged instances of deceptive marketing and alleged non-compliance with enrollment and TPV rules

The report is notable because it contains several new recommended actions not originally sought by Staff in an earlier Notice of Probable Non-Compliance

At the time PUCO formally opened the proceeding in April, RPA Energy provided the following statement concerning the matter:

"The incidences described by Staff do not reflect the Company’s values. Although we disagree with some of Staff’s characterizations, upon receiving the Notice of Probable Non-Compliance, we voluntarily suspended all marketing in Ohio, terminated certain vendors, and enhanced our compliance function. We look forward to demonstrating to the Commission’s satisfaction that these were isolated incidences that will not be repeated."

--- Statement from RPA Energy in April 2022

In the report, Staff recommends that the Commission should rescind, conditionally rescind, or suspend RPA Energy’s supplier certificate

Staff further recommends that RPA Energy should be ordered to pay a forfeiture of $1,500,000.

Staff recommends that RPA should be required to return several groups of customers to default service, with certain customers provided refunds, as follows:

For all customers who enrolled through door to door or telemarketing means from May 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, Staff recommends:

• That RPA be ordered to re-rate these customers back to the utilities’ default service rate.

• That such customers be returned to default service

For each customer enrolled from February 1, 2021 to May 1, 2021, Staff recommends that RPA:

• Shall notify customers that the Commission believes that the customer may have been misled by RPA Energy during its solicitation and enrollment process

• Shall inform customers of the terms of the contract (including whether fixed or variable and the rate)

• Shall advise customers that they will be returned to their utilities’ default service unless they contact RPA Energy to affirm their enrollment.

Additionally, for all customers who filed a complaint with the Commission, RPA Energy, or any other entity (ex. Better Business Bureau or local utility) disputing their enrollment from the time period starting after February 1, 2022, Staff recommends that RPA be ordered to re-rate all customers back to the utilities’ default service rate

In the earlier Notice of Probable Non-Compliance, Staff had sought a $300,000 forfeiture and had recommended that RPA be required to suspend all marketing and enrollment activity for a period of 2 years from the date of the original notice (but not a licensure revocation)

RPA voluntarily agreed to cease marketing in Ohio after receiving the Notice of Probable Non-Compliance

The Staff report provides more specific details concerning the alleged behavior, which had been previously detailed in our prior story (click here for details)

See the Staff report here

Case 22-441-GE-COI

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