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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?
Show 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?
Hide 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?
A: Initially, your utility will continue to handle metering. However, as competition evolves, this may change. The utility or ESCO will be able to supply you with this information.
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?
Show 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?
Show details for Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?
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?
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?
Show details for Q: How can I make long-distance calls?Q: How can I make long-distance calls?
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?
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.
Hide details for Q: How will I be billed?Q: How will I be billed?
A: Billing methods vary among companies. Ask each company how you will be billed for services so you know what to expect.
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...
Hide 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...
Q: Is compensation provided for allowing a cable television company to install cables, switches, and other equipment in a building?
A: A nominal $1 is authorized for reimbursement unless it is demonstrated in a petition to the Public Service Commission that the extent of the cable television company’s installation results in a decrease in property value justifying additional compensation and the Public Service Commission issues an order granting the request for compensation. An application is required within four months after the installation is complete, including a detailed statement setting forth the location and space used, previous use of the space, difference in value of the property before and after the installation, and method for determining the valuations.
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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