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Letter: PSC should not eliminate energy consumers’ choices

PSC should not eliminate energy consumers’ choices

The Public Service Commission effectively eliminated retail choice for residential and small commercial customers in New York – substituting the PSC’s judgment for that of consumers in determining what energy products offer value. This unprecedented decision would effectively end a customer’s right to choose energy pricing plans that best suit their needs.

We are concerned that this will have severe unintended consequences, including loss of jobs, marketplace confusion and uncertainty for customers. The action will also have a chilling effect on investment by companies integral to increasing customer choice and expanding value-added services for New York energy consumers. These innovative value-added products and services are available in the market and their scope and variety are growing.

The PSC’s actions were partly in response to the marketing practices of a few energy service companies (ESCOs). Consumer protection is a key objective for all market participants, including Retail Energy Supply Association members. The PSC already has extensive rules governing market conduct that can be effectively used to address abusive marketing practices. Rather than exercise this authority to penalize rule violators, the PSC seeks to shut down retail competition for all ESCOs, including the majority of suppliers that diligently follow the rules. This is akin to shutting down the highway to stop a few speeders. We intend to work diligently with the PSC and other interested stakeholders to secure the benefits of competition for New York consumers.

Bryan Lee

Retail Energy Supply Association