15 June 2023- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today rejected a proposed settlement between the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) and Great American Power LLC (GAP) stemming from alleged misleading and deceptive conduct related to GAP’s billing and sales and marketing practices as a licensed electric generation supplier (EGS) in Pennsylvania.
The Commission voted 5-0 to reject a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement and return the matter to I&E for further proceedings, based on a joint motion from PUC Vice Chairman Stephen M. DeFrank and Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr.
The proposed settlement had sought to resolve the informal complaint proceeding initiated by I&E based on information referred to I&E by the Commission’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) as well as several informal complaints forwarded by the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services (BCS) raising concerns with unauthorized enrollment and billing errors.
Concerns Raised About Settlement
In today’s joint motion, Vice Chairman DeFrank and Commissioner Coleman raised a series of concerns following review of the settlement as well as public comments submitted by Pennsylvania’s Office of Consumer Advocate on the settlement – which had proposed a cumulative civil penalty of $92,500, a modification of the company’s telemarketing procedures along with other remedial measures to be taken by GAP.
Per the joint motion, the Commission cites several key factors in its determination to reject the settlement, including but not limited to:
- Allegations detailed in the settlement are extensive and involve deceptive and misleading conduct, which warrants a higher penalty.
- The settlement fails to properly address GAP’s poor compliance history. This is GAP’s third appearance before the Commission in recent years as an alleged bad actor.
- The allegations related to a third-party telemarketing vendor are not adequately addressed by the remedial measures in the settlement – including a failure to address what monitoring protocols will be put in place in the future when or if GAP resumes using a third-party telemarketing vendor.
- The proposed civil penalty is not sufficient to deter future violations.