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Retail Supplier To Pay $250,000 Under Settlement With PSC Staff

Settlement Also Includes Customer Refunds, Changes In Sales Practices

March 18, 2021

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Copyright 2010-21
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Atlantic Energy MD, LLC (Atlantic Energy) would pay a civil penalty of $250,000 as part of a settlement with Staff of the Maryland Public Service Commission (Staff) and the Maryland Office of People's Counsel (OPC) (collectively, the "Settling Parties") to resolve various alleged violations by Atlantic Energy that were subject to a complaint filed by PSC Staff against Atlantic Energy

Atlantic Energy provided the following statement concerning the matter:

"Atlantic Energy is pleased that it was able to work with Staff and the Office of People's Counsel to reach a reasonable settlement that includes no finding of violation against Atlantic.

"Atlantic has been fully cooperative and transparent since this matter was initiated back in early 2019, starting with the Company’s very detailed Answer to the original Staff Complaint and continuing throughout the proceeding. Atlantic looks forward to the approval of the settlement and to continuing to offer its unique value added products to customers in Maryland, while continuing to maintain full compliance in all aspects of our customer acquisition and customer service functions."

--- Statement from Atlantic Energy

Among other things, Staff had alleged that Atlantic’s agents made statements in the course of door to door sales calls that are false and misleading, with Staff alleging that multiple complainants have alleged that an agent for Atlantic had represented themself as being from the state's EmPOWER Maryland program

See more background on the alleged violations here

The settlement would resolve all the allegations in the complaints and matters at issue in Case No. 9624

In addition to the civil penalty, Atlantic agrees to provide refunds to all customers enrolled by the following ten specific Atlantic agents during the time period from 17 November 2017 to 1 March 2019. Refunds would reflect the difference between the rate paid by the customer to Atlantic versus the SOS rate, less any prior refunds paid by Atlantic

Atlantic also agrees to provide refunds to any commercial customer who filed a complaint with the Commission's Consumer Affairs Division against Atlantic during the same time period and did not previously receive a refund from Atlantic.

Atlantic also agrees to certain changes in its sales practices, including the following:

• Atlantic will modify its Maryland customer contract to move the short-form notice of cancellation next to the signature line of the customer; such that all future contracts entered into with Maryland customers retain such modification;

• Atlantic will modify its Maryland residential door-to-door Third Party Verification ('TPV') script so that, for all future door-to-door sales, customers will have to confirm their understanding of their right to rescind their enrollment within three-business days;

• Atlantic will modify its Maryland sales training materials to remove any reference to the utility price as "premium" and "variable," with such modifications to be retained permanently; and

• Atlantic agrees to require TPVs for all Maryland residential and small commercial enrollments for all future Maryland contracts.

None of the provisions in the settlement shall be considered or shall constitute an admission, a finding of any fact, or a finding of culpability on the part of Atlantic in Case No. 9624

Case 9624

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