Retail Supplier To Pay $100,000 In Combined Refunds & Penalty Under Settlement Approved By PSC
Includes Residential Door-to-Door Stay-Out; Limit On Price Change Frequency; Other Marketing Changes
April 13, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Maryland PSC today approved a settlement among Greenlight Energy, Inc. ('Greenlight'), the Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission ('Staff'), and the Office of People’s Counsel ('OPC') under which Greenlight would pay a civil penalty of $40,000, and issue over $62,000 in new refunds, to resolve alleged violations alleged in a Staff complaint
See details on the allegations in our stories linked below
In addition to the $40,000 civil penalty, Greenlight under the adopted settlement agrees to:
• Provide refunds to all Greenlight customers enrolled by the door-to-door sales agents in CAD Complaint Nos. 33709, 35156, and 35341, in an amount that for each comprises the difference between the SOS rate or gas commodity rate and Greenlight’s supply rate, the sum total of which is $47,314 for all refunded customers combined;
• Provide refunds to Greenlight’s current door-to-door customers identified by the utilities as receiving energy assistance as of April 1, 2023, in an amount that for each comprises the difference between the SOS rate or gas commodity rate and Greenlight’s supply rate, the sum total of which is approximately $15,000 for all refunded customers combined;
Separate from and in addition to the amounts listed above, Greenlight has already provided refunds to each of the customers who actually enrolled with Greenlight and paid more than the utility’s Standard Offer Service ('SOS') rate in an amount comprising the difference between the SOS rate or gas commodity rate and Greenlight’s supply rate
Greenlight also agrees to marketing and enrollment changes under the settlement, as follows:
a. Online Enrollments. Within 90 days of final approval of the Settlement, Greenlight shall complete modification of its online customer enrollment process to address concerns raised by Staff and OPC, such that:
i. Greenlight’s contract and contract summary shall be separate documents, and the contract shall contain all required material terms and conditions;
ii. For online enrollments, Greenlight shall require customers to: (1) scroll through the entire contract and contract summary before confirming their agreement to enroll; and (2) provide an electronic signature (not simply a check box) as consent to their agreement to the contract;
iii. Prior to resumption of online enrollments, Greenlight shall demonstrate the process for Staff, OPC, and the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division ('CAD') for their review, comment, and approval by CAD; and
iv. Prior to the resumption of online enrollments, Greenlight shall communicate the modified enrollment process to all currently enrolled customers with directions to contact Greenlight for questions or cancellation.
b. Door-to-Door Enrollments. Greenlight shall not conduct any residential door to door sales for a period of one year from the final approval of the settlement. Before resuming residential door to door sales, Greenlight shall: (1) obtain CAD approval; and (2) provide updated customer contract materials to Staff, OPC, and CAD and demonstrate its updated door to door enrollment process for CAD, and obtain their feedback.
c. Telephone Enrollments: For all enrollments made by a telephone or by a means that includes the use of a telephone, Greenlight shall:
i. Send the customer an electronic link for the customer to follow that requires customers to: (1) scroll through the entire contract and contract summary before confirming their agreement to enroll; and (2) provide an electronic signature (not simply a check box) as consent to their agreement to the contract , [sic] as if it were an online enrollment, from each telephonically enrolled customer;
ii. Not accept customers enrolled by telephone absent online enrollment verification, as set forth in [the online process described above];
iii. Prior to resumption of telephone enrollments, Greenlight shall demonstrate the process for Staff, OPC, and CAD for their review, comment, and approval by CAD.
d. Miscellaneous Marketing Modifications:
i. All new enrollments shall receive a phone call, text, or email to confirm that the account holder consents to the enrollment with Greenlight
ii. For a period of two years following the final approval of the Settlement, Greenlight’s residential variable price shall change no more frequently than twice per calendar year ('six-month price').
A. All customers on six-month pricing shall pay the same six-month price (whether they enroll directly onto the six month price or default to six-month pricing at the conclusion of a prior contract term).
B. The provisions in this Section (d) do not apply to Greenlight’s current monthly variable customers unless the monthly variable customer consents to enroll into the six-month price product.
C. During the two-year period and thereafter, Greenlight shall post its current and upcoming six-month prices on its website, and provide customers with 30 days’ notice in advance of each change to its six-month price. Greenlight shall also email or text the new price to customers that enrolled after approval of this Settlement, and all enrolled customers, before any change to the six-month price.
iii. Greenlight shall implement a support chat, operated Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm EST or EDT, by a Greenlight representative, to make it easier for customers to connect and ask questions related to their service.
iv. Greenlight shall conduct training and/or educational sessions regarding Maryland Law and Regulations with all current and future employees and agents responsible for customer communication at any stage of the enrollment process for all solicitation methods in use.
v. Upon resuming telephone and door to door sales, for a period of two years, Greenlight shall utilize no more than one independent marketing vendor for each sales channel at any given time and shall identify the vendors to CAD.
vi. Before any future door-to-door sales, Greenlight shall obtain documentation verifying that each door-to-door sales agent holds any license required by a local jurisdiction where the door-to-door sales agent operates and shall produce that documentation upon request by Staff, OPC, or CAD.
The settlement also includes various reporting requirements
The settlement is not intended to be and shall not be deemed to be evidence or an admission of liability or compliance on the part of the Settling Parties, or anyone else, the settlement provides