PSC Chair Reveals That Multiple Additional Retail Suppliers Are Subject To A Cease & Desist
May 3, 2023 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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During today's administrative meeting, Maryland PSC Chairman Jason Stanek revealed that multiple additional retail energy suppliers have been subject to a "cease and desist", in addition to those which were recently revealed
As previously reported, the PSC Staff recently disclosed the identities of seven retail suppliers that had been sent cease and desist demands from PSC Staff based on, as alleged by Staff, "one or more violations of Public Utilities Section 7-510.2 and 7-604.1, as well as COMAR 20.53.07.07.C(2)(a) and 20.59.07.07.C(2)(a)."
As noted, all of those seven suppliers have addressed Staff's concerns, and, as of the time of the Staff disclosure in April, were permitted to resume marketing, or had reached an agreement to undertake changes that would allow the supplier to resume marketing once such changes were complete.
As EnergyChoiceMatters.com had noted in our prior April story, Stanek had initially said during a March administrative meeting that various PSC Staff offices had issued 8 or 9 cease and desist letters to retail suppliers
Stanek confirmed at today's meeting that there are additional suppliers that have been subject to cease and desist demands aside from those seven which have been disclosed to date. Stanek did not specifically identify the additional suppliers subject to the cease and desist demands
"There are other suppliers that were not mentioned on that [April Staff disclosure] letter that are currently subject to a cease and desist," Stanek said
Stanek also provided a report on supplier complaints during the January to March 2023 quarter
Stanek reported there were a record number of supplier complaints (234) during the quarter
More than half of the complaints (133) were for slamming or misrepresentation
Stanek said that it was "disappointing" to see such a high level of complaints
Stanek reiterated that the PSC remains in a maximum enforcement period through August 1, 2023, and emphasized that the PSC would not be getting "soft" after such date
Stanek's presentation included a "Hall of Shame" identifying suppliers which had 3 or more complaints during a month, which is routinely posted by the PSC
During the quarter January to March 2023, the PSC data shows that Constellation NewEnergy had the most complaints (39), followed by Sunsea Energy (23) and Palmco Power d/b/a Indra Energy (17). Several additional suppliers had three or more complaints in a month during the period.
On a monthly basis, Constellation NewEnergy had the most complaints in each individual month during the quarter.
Constellation provided the following statement concerning the matter:
"At Constellation, we take customer concerns very seriously and are committed to addressing them promptly. Based in Baltimore, we believe strongly that Maryland residents deserve a choice in their energy provider, and we want to ensure customers can take advantage of Constellation’s wide array of products and services to manage their energy costs at competitive prices and fixed rates. Our customer service agents stand ready to quickly address any customer issue that may arise. We have spoken with members of the Maryland PSC and remain committed to enhanced customer service."
--- Statement from Constellation
Indra Energy provided the following statement concerning the matter:
"Indra Energy takes consumer protection and regulatory compliance with the utmost seriousness. We are aware of the customer issues raised in the presentation at the Maryland PSC’s weekly administrative meeting today. Prior to today’s meeting, we had temporarily and voluntarily paused residential sales in the Maryland market for a period of 60 days in order to review and refine our internal channel management and quality assurance processes.
"At Indra Energy, our top priority is always to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers and to ensure their satisfaction with our energy services, in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal law and regulations. We look forward to continued cooperation with the Maryland PSC, Staff, and other stakeholders to best serve the interests of energy consumers in Maryland."
--- Statement from Indra Energy
Stanek noted that, as previously reported, the PSC suspended Sunsea's licenses and ordered it to return customers to default service.