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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?
Hide details for Q: What are energy service companies (ESCOs)?Q: What are energy service companies (ESCOs)?
A: Energy service companies can be large corporations or very small businesses, which can compete to sell you electricity. They may also offer other energy-related services such as energy efficiency programs or natural gas service. An ESCO may be a company affiliated with your local electric utility company or an independent electricity supplier.
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.
Hide details for Q: What if I have a complaint with my electricity supplier?Q: What if I have a complaint with my electricity supplier?
A: The Public Service Commission requires all suppliers to offer convenient complaint handling procedures and clear information on switching. Companies are required to send customers a statement disclosing the company's complaint resolution process. Customers must also receive 15 days' notice before termination of service. You may still contact the Public Service Commission to register a complaint. The Commission will not resolve our complaint, but it will track complaints against ESCOs, and it may take action against companies with high complaint levels. If you have a complaint against your electricity supplier call 1-888-NYS-PSC8 (1-888-697-7728).
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

Show details for Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?
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?
Show details for Q: Can I switch companies more than once?Q: Can I switch companies more than once?
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?
Show details for Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?

Telephone

Show 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?
Show details for Q: Do I have to pick a long distance company?Q: Do I have to pick a long distance company?
Show details for Q: How can I make long-distance calls?Q: How can I make long-distance calls?
Hide 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?
A: All local numbers will be included in the same telephone book you currently receive, regardless of which company provides your local service. There are also a variety of directory assistance services that should have updated listings of all local phone numbers.
Hide details for Q: Are there different sources for directory assistance?Q: Are there different sources for directory assistance?
A: Yes. Directory assistance is provided by a number of sources, including telephone companies, Internet-based companies, and other advertised directory assistance companies.
Hide 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?
A: Call the company that provides your basic local service, which is responsible for maintaining service to your home or business. If you have a problem with your other services, contact the company that provides the service. Remember, you are responsible for the telephones, inside wiring, and jacks in your home unless you have a maintenance plan with your telephone company or an independent contractor.
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?"
Hide 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?
A: If you have been slammed, immediately report it to your authorized company (basic local service company or long distance company) so you can be reconnected. Warning: Do not ask to disconnect service from an unauthorized company until you have arranged to get service from your preferred company. If you have been crammed, contact your local telephone service company, which has procedures in place to resolve cramming complaints.
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?
Show 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?




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