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Frequently Asked Questions



Electricity

Show details for Q: How will electric competition affect me?Q: How will electric competition affect me?
Show details for Q: Do I have to choose a new electricity supplier?Q: Do I have to choose a new electricity supplier?
Show details for Q: What are energy service companies (ESCOs)?Q: What are energy service companies (ESCOs)?
Show details for Q: Who will come if I have a problem with my electricity?Q: Who will come if I have a problem with my electricity?
Hide details for Q: Will different companies need to put up power lines in my neighborhood?Q: Will different companies need to put up power lines in my neighborhood?
A: No. The local electric utility company will continue to provide the delivery system. All suppliers will continue to bring electricity to your home using existing power lines.

Show details for Q: Who will read and maintain the meters at my home or business?Q: Who will read and maintain the meters at my home or business?
Show details for Q: Is there a chance I will lose power when I switch companies?Q: Is there a chance I will lose power when I switch companies?
Show details for Q: How will I be billed for service?Q: How will I be billed for service?
Show details for Q: Can I switch companies more than once?Q: Can I switch companies more than once?
Hide details for Q: Will I be protected from being switched from one power supplier to another without my knowledge or approvalQ: Will I be protected from being switched from one power supplier to another without my knowledge or approval?
A: Yes. To minimize the potential for the unauthorized switching of providers of electric service, a practice known as "slamming," the PSC requires ESCOs to disclose in writing - before a customer receives service - their terms and conditions for obtaining, maintaining and stopping service from that ESCO. These provisions, copies of which are filed with the PSC, include a ban against the transfer of a customer to another provider without the customer's permission. Preventive measures have been taken by the PSC. ESCOs, which "slam", must pay all costs and fees incurred by the customer and the utility arising from the unauthorized switch in providers, as well as switching the customer back. In addition, ESCOs will be subject to penalties imposed by the PSC.
Hide details for Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?
A: No. The control of your electric services remains with your utility company. If you lose your supplier for any reason, you will be given 15 days' notice to allow you time to choose a new supplier or return to the local utility.
Show details for Q: What if I have a complaint with my electricity supplier?Q: What if I have a complaint with my electricity supplier?
Show details for Q: What if I have a complaint with my local utility that delivers my electricity?Q: What if I have a complaint with my local utility that delivers my electricity?

Natural Gas

Hide details for Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?
A: No. However, you may wish to compare prices and services offered by ESCOs. Your gas supplier will continue to provide your gas if you prefer not to change suppliers.
Show details for Q: Who do I call if I smell a gas odor?Q: Who do I call if I smell a gas odor?
Show details for Q: Is there a chance my gas supply will be interrupted when I switch companies?Q: Is there a chance my gas supply will be interrupted when I switch companies?
Show details for Q: How will I be billed for service?Q: How will I be billed for service?
Show details for Q: Who will read and maintain the meters at my business?Q: Who will read and maintain the meters at my business?
Hide details for Q: Can I switch companies more than once?Q: Can I switch companies more than once?
A: Yes. However, you should consider the terms and conditions of the ESCO's gas supply contract before you decide to switch.
Show details for Q: Can an ESCO shut off my gas?Q: Can an ESCO shut off my gas?
Show details for Q: What if I have a complaint with my gas supplier?Q: What if I have a complaint with my gas supplier?
Hide details for Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?
A: Regulations are in place to prevent this from occurring. When an ESCO asks your gas supplier to make a switch in service, your gas supplier is required to notify you five days before they would make any switch, so that you have time to respond.

Telephone

Hide details for Q: Can I choose more than one company for different telephone services?Q: Can I choose more than one company for different telephone services?
A: Yes. Many consumers are now able to choose different companies for their basic local service, local or regional toll service, and long distance service. You may choose one or more than one company to provide all your services.
Show details for Q: Do I have to pick a long distance company?Q: Do I have to pick a long distance company?
Hide details for Q: How can I make long-distance calls?Q: How can I make long-distance calls?
A: To make long distance calls from most homes or businesses, you can use your chosen long distance company. You can also use a calling card (prepaid or from a company that bills you), one of the advertised "10-10" ("dial around") services, or a toll-free telephone number that connects you to a specific long-distance company.
Show details for Q: Will I still be able to find the phone numbers of people or businesses that have a different local phone coQ: Will I still be able to find the phone numbers of people or businesses that have a different local phone company?
Show details for Q: Are there different sources for directory assistance?Q: Are there different sources for directory assistance?
Show details for Q: What company do I call for repairs if more than one company provides my telephone services?Q: What company do I call for repairs if more than one company provides my telephone services?
Show details for Q: How will I be billed?Q: How will I be billed?
Show details for Q: Can I lose my basic local telephone service if I do not pay other charges, such as long distance charges?Q: Can I lose my basic local telephone service if I do not pay other charges, such as long distance charges?
Show details for Q: What is "slamming?"Q: What is "slamming?"
Show details for Q: What is "cramming?"Q: What is "cramming?"
Show details for Q: What do I do if I've been slammed or crammed?Q: What do I do if I've been slammed or crammed?
Show details for Q: What should I consider if I want to use a wireless phone instead of traditional telephone service?Q: What should I consider if I want to use a wireless phone instead of traditional telephone service?

Cable TV

Show details for Q: Is a landlord required to allow a cable television company access to a building for the purposes of installQ: Is a landlord required to allow a cable television company access to a building for the purposes of installing equipment...
Show details for Q: Is compensation provided for allowing a cable television company to install cables, switches, and other equQ: Is compensation provided for allowing a cable television company to install cables, switches, and other equipment in a bu...
Show details for Q: What are my rights with respect to a cable company’s access to my property?Q: What are my rights with respect to a cable company’s access to my property?
Show details for Q: What is an Order of Entry?Q: What is an Order of Entry?
Hide details for Q: What happens if cable television company personnel damage any property during an installation?Q: What happens if cable television company personnel damage any property during an installation?
A: The cable television company is required to reimburse a landlord for any damage related to an installation on or within the property.




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