Re-Billers Showing Only Spotty Compliance with ECPA

Re-Billers Showing Only Spotty Compliance with ECPA

Postby CLS » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:57 pm

The Ontario Energy Board is finding that many energy re-billers are slow to comply with the provisions of the new Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010. As described by Toronto Star columnist Ellen Roseman on August 25, 2011:

"Energy sellers face total of $305,000 in fines

The Ontario Energy Board is cracking down on 12 companies that sell natural gas and electricity contracts at a fixed price.

The board proposes they pay fines totalling $305,000 for not complying with new rules for energy sellers that came into effect on Jan. 1 of this year.

It also proposes to revoke the licence of MxEnergy Canada Ltd. and to suspend the sales activities of Active Energy Inc., Ag Energy Cooperative Ltd., Energhx Green Energy Corp. and MorEnergy Savings Corp.

Examples of alleged infractions include failing to train sales agents properly and failing to mention the customer’s cancellation rights in a contract.

Just Energy Ontario LP faces a $50,000 fine, the largest among the 12 firms. Alleged infractions include sales agents not identifying themselves properly and giving wrong price comparisons to customers.

MorEnergy faces a $45,000 fine, as well as a suspension. Alleged infractions include not informing customers in writing that they could cancel a contract without penalty if they moved out of the premises.

The Ontario government passed a tough law to protect consumers this year after listening to complaints about improper sales practices for the past decade.

In its first big enforcement effort, the Ontario Energy Board found faults with all 12 of the energy suppliers it inspected.

Bullfrog Power, known for green energy products, was fined $25,000. Canadian RiteRate Energy Corp., which sells gas contracts online and avoids door-to-door sales, was fined $10,000.

Planet Energy (Ontario) Corp. was fined $35,000, Superior Energy Management was fined $30,000, Direct Energy Marketing Corp. was fined $20,000 and Summitt Energy Management Inc. was fined $15,000.

Companies can ask for a hearing within the next 15 days. Otherwise, the board can order them to pay fines and face administrative action."

Energy re-billing continues to be a significant source of consumer woe. Advocates and consumers alike should be alert to re-billing schemes and learn as much as they can about consumer rights and remedies, especially those afforded by the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010.
Kathryn M. Bullon, B.Sc., J.D., M.Ad.Ed.
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Community Law School
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