Pennsylvania Gas & Electric (PAG&E), a U.S. Gas & Electric company, today applauded the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for its efforts to strengthen electric customer disclosure requirements and to reduce the time it takes for consumers to change electricity suppliers.
“These are important changes that, combined, are a step forward for Pennsylvania. There’s no question that customers will benefit from faster switching and greater disclosure of the specific terms of contracts,” said Doug Marcille, Director, CEO and President of U.S. Gas & Electric.
PAG&E is urging lawmakers to focus on consumer education and protection as they consider reforms to the marketplace. For example, U.S. Gas & Electric worked with the National Energy Marketers Association (NEM), its members and the New York State Public Service Commission to develop the “Schumer Box,” a mandatory Consumer Disclosure Statement in New York that clearly details the most important terms of consumer contracts. NEM members also developed a “Consumer Bill of Rights” and “Code of Conduct” that every NEM member has adopted to provide greater consumer protections.
“We have a long track record of working with Legislators, Regulators and our peers for greater consumer protection and education and disclosure of specific contract terms,” Marcille said. Notably, the company is a founding member of the American Coalition of Competitive Energy Suppliers (ACCES), a consumer education not-for-profit entity, and encourages consumers to visit their website for more information www.competitiveenergy.org.
Marcille also noted that a transition to allowing for faster switching would be more seamless with smart meters in place.
“In general, the deregulated markets often have rule is in place for fee-based off-cycle meter reads. Obviously, if there is a need to do this in large numbers, that could be difficult without smart meters. Also, it is important to minimize the use of estimated meter reads because any variance between the actual and estimated usage will adversely affect either the old or new supplier,” Marcille said.
PAG&E continues to assist consumers who were caused hardship by the recent wholesale market price spikes. The company has provided customers with over $3.0 million in rebates and is offering plans that provide more stability. The company has also added 30 customer service representatives to assist in this process.