Pennsylvania Energy Customer Rights
Utility shoppers in Pennsylvania are legally protected from deceptive, unfair, and unethical practices by utility providers. Understanding all-of-the rights provided to Pennsylvania utility customers is the best way of staying protected. Consumers in the state's competitive and confusing deregulated energy market need to keep informed on how to legally and financially protect themselves from illegal power provider tactics. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has taken great measures to provide state residents with clear-cut and accurate power plan information that's easy-to-understand for the average consumer. This has helped to keep electric rates competitive in the state by promoting power contract transparency in the utility industry.
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Understanding a Power Plan
It's important for the utility customer to thoroughly read and fully comprehend all of the contractual terms and obligations which are included in an average power contract; before fully committing to a binding utility agreement. This is vital to making the right electric choice in Pennsylvania . Deregulation has provided a vast array of both plans and providers to choose from. The best way to research a power contract is by scrutinizing the plans disclosed Electric Generation Supplier Contract Summary (EGSCS), which is mandatorily included by law in all power providers' energy plan offers. EGSCS statements help the shopper know what their average utility rate will be, plus, the disclosures also list any “Fine Print” stipulations included in a power plan's agreement.
The Right to Switch
When a utility customer's service agreement starts to come to an end, the power plan holder will receive two renewal notices from their current supplier. The first renewal notice arrives 45 to 60 days before the contract's expiration date. Power providers must also send the customer a contract options notice, which specifies new changes that will be enacted to the old contract.
The potential listed contract changes can include the customer's new price rates, plus, the date that the utility customer must officially agree to the changes in the new service agreement. The options notice is sent not less than 30 days before the contract's expiration date. This is an opportune time for consumers to shop around first before deciding on whether or not they want to stay with their current power plan, or whether or not they should switch over to a different power provider which has better rates and terms to offer.
Power shutoffs occur when a customer fails to pay their utility charges within the time specified on their utility bill, if they fail to follow through on pre-agreed payment arrangements, or if they fail to pay a required deposit. The customer's service can also be shut off if the customer does not follow any of the agreed upon stipulations of their power contract. When the power supply is shut off by the provider, the utility company must leave a notice at the service location that explains what the customer must do in order to get their power restored.
The Right to Complain
As a utility customer, you have a right to contact your power provider and make complaints, or voice concerns about your service, without suffering any negative penalties or repercussions for doing so. If you feel that your complaints are not being properly responded to by your power provider after reasonable attempts, you then have the right to file a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). At no time during the arbitration process should the quality, reliability, and regular maintenance of the electric distribution services decline or be interrupted, simply due to a customer's valid complaints that are made to their power company.