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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?
Hide details for Q: How will I be billed for service?Q: How will I be billed for service?
A: Whether you choose to buy power from your utility or an ESCO, you bill for electricity may itemize (unbundle) charges. If you choose an ESCO, you may receive two bills: one bill from the ESCO for the electricity product, and one from the utility for the delivery of the product. Other options are possible - the utility may bill you on behalf of the ESCO and include the ESCO's charges in its bill, or the ESCO may bill you on behalf of the utility and include the utility's charges in the ESCO's bill. If you stay with your local utility, you will continue to receive one bill. Regardless of who supplies your electricity, you will always have access to your utility usage and billing history, and that information can only be released by the utility with your permission.
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?
Hide 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?
A: No. There will be no interruption of service if you switch to an ESCO, or from one ESCO to another.
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?
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?
Hide 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?
A: No. You can only lose your local telephone service if you do not pay local telephone charges. Failure to pay other charges, such as custom calling charges or long distance charges, may result in the disconnection of those particular services.
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

Hide 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...
Q: Is a landlord required to allow a cable television company access to a building for the purposes of installing equipment to serve customers residing in other buildings?
A: Yes. New York Public Service Law 228 states that no landlord may interfere with the installation of cable television company equipment in or on his or her building. This includes equipment installed to provide service for cable television company customers in the landlord’s building and in other buildings. A landlord is also required to allow a cable television company access to his or her building for the purpose of conducting a survey of the site or making other preparations for cable television company installations. Cable television companies are required to provide a notice of the request for entry, including a proposed date.
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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