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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)?
Hide 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?
A: You existing local electric utility company will continue to provide all services to maintain your electric system, including outage repair.

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?
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.
Show details for Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?Q: Can an ESCO shut off my power?
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

Show details for Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?Q: Do I have to choose a new gas supplier?
Hide details for Q: Who do I call if I smell a gas odor?Q: Who do I call if I smell a gas odor?
A: Your gas supplier will still be responsible for the safety and maintenance of the system. You will continue to report any possible safety problems and noticeable odors or gas leaks to your gas supplier.

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?
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?
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?"
Hide details for Q: What is "cramming?"Q: What is "cramming?"
A: Cramming is when a company places unauthorized charges for optional telephone and non-telephone related services, such as charges for psychic hotline subscriptions, personal 800 telephone numbers or chatline membership fees on your telephone bill without your consent. Some of these charges may appear on your telephone bill in unclear terms, such as "enhanced services" or "activation."
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.
Hide 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?
A: Currently, your address and/or apartment number will not automatically be known by the emergency operator if you use a wireless phone to dial 911. Consider the quality of reception at your home or business and the rates for calls and features. Also, conversations on some wireless (and cordless) phones can be overheard on other nearby electronic devices.

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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