PSC Orders Retail Supplier To Drop Customers To Default Service, After Finding Violations Of Rules
Also Orders Customer Refunds
October 8, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Maryland Public Service Commission said in a news release that it, "has taken action against a retail energy supplier, SunSea Energy, LLC, for enrolling customers without a signed contract and other violations of Maryland law and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)."
In brief, the Office of People's Counsel and PSC Staff have alleged, among other things, that SunSea failed to reduce telephonic contracts to writing and have such contracts signed by the customer, as required by the Maryland Telephone Solicitation Act (and which did not qualify for an exemption under the Act), and alleged that the company engaged in various deceptive acts of misrepresentations during solicitations
The PSC ordered that SunSea customers solicited by telephone must be returned to default service. The company shall inform customers of their right to a refund of the difference between SunSea Energy’s supply charge and the utility’s default supply price.
The PSC said in a news release that, "In a ruling following an evidentiary hearing yesterday, the Commission prohibited SunSea Energy from marketing and soliciting new customers and also ordered the company to provide refunds to all of its customers who were solicited by telephone."
The PSC said in a news release that, "This matter stemmed from a filing in June 2020 by the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel alleging that SunSea Energy engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing practices. SunSea Energy, which has principal offices in New Jersey, has been licensed to supply electricity in Maryland since January of 2019, and licensed to supply natural gas in Maryland since April of 2019. According to the company, it currently has nearly 2,300 customers in Maryland."
The PSC said in a news release that, "The Commission found that SunSea Energy violated specific provisions of Maryland law and COMAR by enrolling nearly 1,000 customers over the phone but did not provide those customers with a written contract or have the customers sign a contract prior to enrollment, failed to provide an accurate contract summary to those customers, and engaged in deceptive solicitations."
The PSC said in a news release that, "At the Commission’s October 7, 2020 evidentiary hearing, SunSea Energy admitted to committing many of these alleged violations of Maryland law (including the Maryland Telephone Solicitations Act) and Commission regulations."
The PSC said in a news release that, "In addition to the moratorium, the Commission also directed that all of SunSea Energy’s existing customers who were solicited by telephone must be returned to default service with their respective electric or gas utility within 10 days of the ruling, and be notified in writing of the Commission’s findings, including the customer’s right to a refund of the difference between SunSea Energy’s supply charge and the utility’s default supply price."
"The Commission will give consideration to any potential civil monetary penalty after the refund process has begun," the PSC said in a news release