Pickaway News Journal

Sun, Aug 20, 2017

PUCO sets "fixed means fixed" guidelines for competitive electric service providers

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COLUMBUS - The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) this week 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," said Andre T. Porter, PUCO Chairman. "The expectation is simple--fixed means fixed."

Following the winter of 2014, the PUCO received complaints that CRES providers included additional charges on customers' 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.

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