A lawsuit that could eventually include thousands of New Jersey residents as plaintiffs is charging an alternative electricity provider with consumer fraud for allegedly luring customers by promising low electricity rates, then dramatically raising prices following the bitter winter cold snap. Fairview-based Systrum Energy devised a “classic bait-and-switch scheme,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed last month in Superior Court in Bergen County. Chris Lauver of Mercer County and Bruce Yabko of Monmouth County filed the lawsuit, which seeks class action status and possibly a multimillion-dollar claim, their attorney said. Monetary damages in New Jersey are not determined until… Read more.
A national environmental group has made good on its promise to sue Ameren, a St. Louis-based utility, regarding what it calls thousands of violations of federal clean air laws. The Sierra Club filed a federal civil lawsuit against Ameren Corp. in St. Louis. The complaint seeks to compel Ameren to reduce air pollution at three area power plants and asks the court to also levy financial penalties for past violations. The lawsuit follows a formal notice of intent to sue provided to Ameren by the Sierra Club in December. The group says Ameren’s own testing shows nearly 8,000 violations since… Read more.
According the Maryland Public Service Commission (MDPUC), any Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) customers that choose to opt out from plans to install smart meters in their homes will have to pay more than $130 a year in fees. The regulatory body determined that Baltimore Gas and Electric, Potomac Electric Power, Delmarva Power and Light and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative must let customers keep their existing meter technology in exchange for an upfront charge and then monthly fees. The fees, which are apparently lower than proposed by the utilities, will become effective after July 1 2014. BGE would charge $75 up… Read more.
As electricity costs continue to ride in Indiana, the state has begun to discuss the potential of deregulation. Gov. Mike Pence is crafting an energy policy that is due this summer. Policymakers say the idea is only a topic of discussion right now, but the fact that the state is even considering allowing consumers to choose their energy supplier signals just how concerned Indiana leaders are about losing their edge when attracting businesses. “The willingness to have even the level of conversation we’ve had so far really speaks to the understanding of how serious of an issue it is that… Read more.
The New York State Public Service Commission (NYPUC) took action to improve the economic value that the State’s retail energy suppliers provide to residential and small commercial customers. These changes will help ensure development of a competitive retail market structure that leads to innovation and consumer benefits. “The competitive energy markets are working extremely well for large commercial and industrial customers,” said Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman. “The steps we are taking today are designed to ensure that the retail energy marketplace provides similar benefits for residential and small commercial customers.” With the new decision, the Commission makes it easier for… Read more.
ComEd, a utility the services selected areas of Illinois, has begun to install smart meters. If a customer refuses to have the smart meter installed in his or her home or business, they will be forced to pay a penalty. A smart meter is a wireless digital device that relays electricity consumption information directly to the utility. Smart meters eliminate the need for meter reads and help to monitor electric usage. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the implementation of a penalty to any ComEd customer that does not convert to the new gadget. Such customers will face a fee… Read more.
Last month, the electricity prices of New York City hit record highs causing many Con Ed customers’ bills to spike more than 20 percent. The utility blames the boost on rising prices for natural gas, which powers most electricity generators. Paralleling, natural-gas prices rose because the cold weather drove up demand for gas heat. “It’s astronomical!” said Jerilynn Mabry of Harlem, who complained to the AARP, which is lobbying for better regulation of the state’s utility industry. Mabry’s bill for January was $87.36, a 17 percent jump from her December bill of $74.74. “Usually, my winter bills are much less… Read more.
Many Long Island residents were in shock after opening their recent electric bill from Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSEG). Long Island was supposed to get a three-year rate freeze when PSEG took over. However, that doesn’t include power supply charges. According to PSEG, customers should expect to pay more through the month of March. As a result of the weather, power supply charges will continue to increase. WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported that the polar vortex is behind the jump in costs. The cold temperatures have increased the price of natural gas that’s used… Read more.
Oasis Energy launched their “Plant A Tree” reward program. Oasis Energy has partnered with Treecycler to reward all Oasis customers who sign up or renew their electricity or natural gas service with a Plant A Tree code, also known as a Treecycler code. The codes allow Oasis customers the ability to have a tree planted in their name, at one of dozens of reforestation projects around the globe. What makes Oasis Energy’s program unique is that the customer gets to decide where their tree is planted. After signing up for gas or electric service the customer is emailed a code that can be… Read more.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has granted approval for PPL Electric Utilities’ proposed Northeast Pocono Reliability Project. PPL submitted the project to the PUC in late December 2012, after soliciting public input. Voting 5-0 to authorize the project, the commission found that the new facilities are necessary, and PPL took reasonable steps to minimize the environmental effects of the construction and maintenance of the facilities. “We’re pleased the PUC gave the go-ahead for this important work,” said Stephanie Raymond, PPL Electric Utilities Transmission and Substation vice president. “Investing in our system and keeping it strong means more reliable service… Read more.
POWER SAVERS CORNER
Because the best way to save money on energy costs while also saving the environment is to use LESS power.