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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?
Hide details for Q: Do I have to choose a new electricity supplier?Q: Do I have to choose a new electricity supplier?
A: No. However, it's in your best interest to at least compare the prices and services offered by energy service companies. Your local electric utility company will continue to supply your power if you prefer not to make a change.

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?
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?
Hide details for Q: Can I switch companies more than once?Q: Can I switch companies more than once?
A: Yes. You can switch from one company to another, or you can return to your current utility company for your electricity supply at any time. You should consider the terms and conditions of the ESCO agreement before you decide to switch.
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

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?
Show details for Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?Q: What if my service gets switched without me asking?

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?
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?
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

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?
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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