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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?
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?
Hide 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?
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: 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?
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?
Hide details for Q: How will I be billed for service?Q: How will I be billed for service?
A: If you choose an ESCO, you may receive two bills - one bill from the ESCO for the gas commodity, and one from your gas supplier for gas delivery services and maintenance of the system.
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?
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

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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