The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The Louisiana PSC has opened a proceeding to consider an increase in the maximum NSF check charge that jurisdictional utilities may collect. Petitions to intervene in Docket R-33247 are due by July 1, 2014. TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers watch for a Bulletin when more information is available.
The New York State PSC has scheduled a series of public comment sessions to receive input on the request of Time Warner Cable Inc. and Comcast Corporation to transfer certain Time Warner Cable telephone systems, cable systems, franchises and assets to Comcast. The PSC said it would use its new regulatory powers to conduct a thorough and detailed investigation into the proposed merger to determine whether the proposed transaction is in the best interest of Time Warner’s New York customers and the State as a whole. Informational forums and public statement hearings will be held in Buffalo, Albany, and New York City. In addition to the formal hearings, comments may be submitted by mail, email, or via the Commission’s Opinion Line
The Acting New Jersey Attorney General, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced they filed a complaint against three third-
party energy suppliers that allegedly lured consumers with promised monthly savings that turned out to be fictional. The companies involved are Palmco Power NJ, LLC & Palmco Energy NJ, LLC (collectively, “Palmco”); HIKO Energy LLC (“HIKO”); and Keil & Sons, Inc., d/b/a Systrum Energy (“Systrum”). The State emphasized that it action relates to the specific practices of these three named companies and “is not an indication of wrong-doing by other third-party energy suppliers.”
Among other things, the three companies are alleged to have deceived consumers through misrepresentations about “competitive” monthly pricing and/or guarantees that consumers would see reductions in their monthly electric and/or natural gas bills if they switched from their utility providers. In fact, instead of realizing savings, consumers saw their energy bills “skyrocket during this past winter when Palmco, HIKO, and Systrum charged far more per kilowatt or therm of energy than the consumers’ previous suppliers.” The State also alleges that Palmco and HIKO engaged in “slamming” by switching customer gas and/or electric accounts without the consumers’ knowledge and consent; as well as other unconscionable commercial practices. The State seeks restitution for affected consumers, as well as civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs; as well as future adherence to all applicable marketing, advertising, and contract standards.