Senator Needleman Cheers PURA Decision Imposing New Marketing Standards on Third-Party Electric Suppliers

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) today cheered the announcement by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, that it will institute comprehensive marketing standards that will be applied to all third-party electric suppliers doing business in Connecticut, the culmination of more than half a decade originating with orders from the General Assembly in 2014. As Senate Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, Sen. Needleman supported the push for these standards and recognizes their importance. The Office of Consumer Council announced the decision last week.

"When third-party suppliers cut corners and engage in unfair marketing practices that harm consumers, our entire state struggles, especially consumers who can be led into signing contracts that financially harm them," said Sen. Needleman. "These new marketing standards will help fight back against deceptive actions and provide a new source of protection for the public."

In recent years, PURA and the General Assembly worked to fight deceptive, unfair marketing practices from third-party suppliers offering electric services through telemarketing and door-to-door sales. The new decision's marketing standards apply the following rules to third-party electric suppliers:

  • They must monitor and self-report marketing violations
  • They must record all door-to-door and telesales transactions, retaining records for three years
  • They must outfit all sales agents traveling door-to-door with GPS tracking
  • They must display accurate caller and area code information on all telesales calls
  • They must provide sufficient notice to PURA in advance of assigning customers to other suppliers
  • They must directly train all third-party sales agents marketing on behalf of third-party suppliers
  • They must abide by increased verification standards and disclose current and pending utility standard service rates
  • They must follow consumer disclosures including that third-party suppliers are not affiliated with electric distribution companies, are not affiliated with state programs, that consumers should not obtain bills at outsets of transactions, that telesales and door-to-door interactions are for marketing, and that customers may cancel contracts with third-party suppliers at will.
  • They must respond to all customer complaints within three days.

These new marketing standards must be in place with third-party suppliers by August 6 of this year.


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