PURA Unanimously Adopts Final Decision of Supplier Marketing Standards Proceeding
Comprehensive Requirements for the State's Third-Party Electric Suppliers
Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced that it has adopted customer-oriented, comprehensive marketing standards for third-party electric suppliers to abide by in a Final Decision in Docket Number 14-07-20RE01, PURA Development and Implementation of Marketing Standards and Sales Practices by Electric Suppliers – Revised Standards. All third-party suppliers operating in the state must comply with the new standards by August 6, 2020.
Born out of a clear and demonstrable need, these new standards reflect PURA’s desire to ensure customers engaging with third-party suppliers receive accurate information that allows customers to make educated decisions about their energy choices. As a threshold matter, PURA reinforces the message that all customers should review the Supply Summary located on the first page of their electric bill each month.
Stronger marketing standards became a priority after PURA was presented with and investigated a variety of concerning marketing practices and issues in the third-party electric supplier market.
With a focus on accountability and customer education, the marketing standards incorporate a variety of requirements for third-party suppliers, including that:
- All telemarketing and door-to-door marketing calls must be recorded;
- All marketing must contain certain information that allows the customer to understand the purpose and the final result of the call;
- All third-party-verifications (TPV) must contain specific language and certain clarifying information to ensure that customers understand the contracts they are entering into with suppliers;
- All outbound telemarketing must accurately display the supplier’s name and local number on the recipient’s caller ID; and
- All suppliers must directly train and monitor their marketers and self-report marketing violations to PURA.
The standards also define greater protections on suppliers’ assignments of customers, as well as the timings of enrollment submissions.
Chairman Marissa P. Gillett noted, “The newly-adopted supplier marketing standards represent the culmination of years of work by PURA staff, the Office of Consumer Counsel, and the Office of the Attorney General. PURA looks forward to seeing a greater emphasis on supplier accountability and a marked lessening of customer confusion in the third-party supplier market.”
Vice-Chairman John “Jack” Betkoski III remarked, “The Marketing Standards Docket may have been one of the most important proceedings PURA has done to preserve the retail electricity market in this state. Responding to serious concerns in the retail electric market, the Authority instituted this docket six years ago. In adopting the standards, we tried to respect the Suppliers’ right to conduct business while balancing the real need to institute important safeguards for customers.”
PURA Commissioner Michael Caron stated, “This is not a market for everyone. But, if one is an active consumer and pays attention, they can find real savings on their electric bills. Unfortunately there have been some unscrupulous suppliers and to preserve and protect the entire market, the honest suppliers and Connecticut’s consumers, the legislature and the Authority developed these reasonable and common sense standards so everyone is treated fairly.”
Connecticut’s third-party electric suppliers are licensed by PURA and offer generation supply choices to the state’s electric customers that differ from the default standard service generation supply offered by the state’s electric companies, Eversource and United Illuminating. Connecticut currently has approximately 50 third-party electric suppliers operating across the state. Customers should contact PURA at 800-382-4586 with any questions about the Supply Summary or to register complaints about licensed suppliers.
The Commissioners thank all staff and stakeholders involved in this matter, especially PURA Attorney Kim White.