Daily Email







Retail Supplier Alleges "More And More Convoluted Interpretations" Of Enrollment Rules By PSC Staff To Invalidate Contracts, In Appealing Staff Decision

Staff Found T&Cs Did Not Constitute Required "Contract"

October 12, 2022

Email This Story
Copyright 2010-21
Reporting by Paul Ring •

The following story is brought free of charge to readers by EC Infosystems, the exclusive EDI provider of

In an appeal to the Maryland PSC of a decision from the Maryland PSC's Consumer Affairs Division (CAD), Stream Energy Maryland, LLC alleged that, "CAD continues to produce more and more convoluted interpretations of Commission regulations in an attempt to incorrectly invalidate supplier contracts."

In response to a specific customer's complaint, prompted by a rate increase after the customer rolled over onto a variable at the end of a fixed price contract, CAD found that Stream's original enrollment was invalid

Stream alleged that the customer affirmatively consented to enroll with Stream Energy and entered into a valid contract for electric supply service with Stream Energy that contained all the materials terms and conditions as required by COMAR Upon the customer contacting Stream to cancel service, Stream, returned the customer to SOS in accordance with applicable regulations, Stream said

Stream alleged that in a September 26 decision, CAD found that the customer's enrollment with Stream Energy was invalid because, "COMAR B(1) requires a supplier to provide the customer with a copy of the executed contract and the completed Contract Summary." Stream alleged that CAD stated that, "[t]he contract and contract summary are two separate documents and the contract summary and the Terms and Conditions cannot be substituted for the actual contract in order to create a valid supplier contract."

Stream alleges that it provided the customer with a valid contract, in the form of a document labeled Terms and Conditions but which met all applicable COMAR requirements for a contract and thus was the contract, which Staff allegedly ignores

Stream alleged that the customer, "affirmatively consented to enroll with Stream Energy and entered into a valid contract with Stream Energy for electric supply service."

"Following his enrollment, Stream Energy provided [customer] with his executed contract. CAD’s finding that [customer's] enrollment with Stream Energy was invalid is not reasonably based on the evidence in this case nor is it based on a sensible analysis of Commission regulations and basic contract law," Stream alleged

"Stream Energy’s document titled 'Terms and Conditions' is [customer's] contract and includes all required materials terms and conditions as required by COMAR, including the specific price, duration and early cancellation fee. CAD clearly did not bother to read the Terms and Conditions, which does not incorporate any other document by reference and does not even mention the Contract Summary which was provided separately," Stream alleged

Stream's appeal includes a list of each item required by COMAR and cited its specific location in the Terms and Conditions

"As the Terms and Conditions contain all required materials terms and conditions as required by COMAR, it appears CAD takes issue with Stream Energy’s labeling of the contract as the 'Terms and Conditions' even though Commission regulations do not dictate how supplier contracts must be titled, and even COMAR refers to 'terms and conditions.' Additionally, the Contract Summary, which is on a form provided by the Commission, instructs customers that if they need 'additional information, please refer to your Terms and Conditions,'" Stream alleged

"Stream Energy provided [customer] with a completed Terms and Conditions, which is his contract, and a completed Contract Summary. Moreover, the Terms and Conditions includes all required terms and does not incorporate any other document. In sum, CAD is flat-out mistaken in this particular case and seems to be applying a legal principle without paying attention to the facts of this case," Stream alleged

Stream alleged, "Here, it is apparent that CAD did not review Stream Energy’s Terms and Conditions; CAD’s decision reads like a form letter that has been mass produced for use in multiple cases. CAD avoids any discussion of the merits of [customer's name] complaint and, instead, seems intended as another in the growing line of CAD decisions involving whether a supplier may incorporate documents by reference into a supply contract."

"That may be a legal issue for other cases, but it’s not this case. Stream Energy’s Terms and Conditions, provided timely to [customer's name] and to which he agreed: (i) is a contract; (ii) was provided as a stand-alone document separate from the Contract Summary; and (iii) does not incorporate or even reference the Contract Summary. Accordingly, the Terms and Conditions complies with the Commission’s contracting requirements in COMAR [Customer's name] had a valid contract with Stream Energy, and CAD’s September 26 decision is in error," Stream alleged

Stream alleged that following the enrollment, Stream Energy sent the customer a welcome letter, along with copies of the Contract Summary and Terms and Conditions.

Stream alleged that the customer's enrollment, which was completed online, complied with COMAR, COMAR, and the Maryland Uniform Electronic Transactions Act

Stream alleged, "CAD’s decision is wrong because the contract was valid. The decision is also totally divorced for the substance of [the customer's] complaint. In fact, [customer] did not dispute the existence of his contract with Stream Energy, nor did he contend that he was enrolled without his consent. His complaint is about an increase in rates due to his transition to a variable product, which is addressed in the contract. CAD, however, took it upon itself to find, inexplicably, that no contract existed."


NEW Jobs on
NEW! -- Sales Development Representative
NEW! -- Operations Analyst/Manager - Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Customer Success
NEW! -- Market Operations Analyst
NEW! -- Operations Manager - Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Marketing Associate - Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Supervisor-Commercial Operations
NEW! -- Customer Data Specialist
NEW! -- Director, Regulatory Affairs, Retail Supplier
NEW! -- Account Manager Project Manager
NEW! -- Retail Energy Policy Analyst
NEW! -- Incentive Specialists
NEW! -- Utility Rates Specialist
NEW! -- Customer Onboarding Specialist
NEW! -- Energy Performance Engineer

Email This Story


Copyright 2010-22 Energy Choice Matters.  If you wish to share this story, please email or post the website link; unauthorized copying, retransmission, or republication prohibited.



Daily Email