PUCO sets “fixed means fixed” guidelines for competitive electric service providers
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Nov. 18, 2015) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today ordered that competitive retail electric service (CRES) customer contracts be more transparent and straightforward by better defining the terms and conditions of fixed-rate offers.
“Our action today will provide consumers greater clarity in how they pay for electricity,” stated PUCO Chairman Andre T. Porter. “The expectation is simple—fixed means fixed.”
Following the winter of 2014, the PUCO received complaints that CRES providers included additional charges on customer’s bills, despite being enrolled in a fixed-rate contract. Because of these complaints, the PUCO began to investigate the terms and conditions of CRES provider offers to ensure protections for consumers against unreasonable sales practices.
The PUCO ordered that beginning Jan. 1, 2016, an offer marketed as a fixed-rate should not include in its terms and conditions any mechanism that allows unforeseen charges incurred by the CRES provider to pass-through to customers. Offers that include these terms should be marketed as variable- or introductory-rate.
Before enrolling in a competitive supplier agreement, customers should be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the offer. For more information and to compare offers on the PUCO’s Apples to Apples comparison charts, visit www.energychoice.ohio.gov.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
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