Complaints about energy service companies (ESCOs) have reached the breaking point in New York causing the Public Service Commission (PSC) to examine how energy is provided to mass-market consumers which includes both homeowners and small businesses.
What is the New York Reset Order?
The Commission found that many energy service companies (ESCOs) have not operated honestly; many offer low introductory rates or promotional deals to lure customers in and then slowly raise their rates until the customer is paying beyond what the average is per kilowatt-hour. Others just blatantly charged high rates. For example, in 2018 some of the worst offenders charged over $0.17 per kilowatt-hour when the average was only $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.
Because of these findings, the PSC issued the New York Reset Order to protect mass-market customers from high-pressure sales situations, deceptive marketing, and a lack of expected savings. To ensure homeowners and small businesses receive value, ESCOs must meet one of the following to continue operating in the state:
- Guarantee savings over the utility price, as reconciled on an annual basis
- Offer a fixed-rate commodity product that is priced at no more than 5% greater than the trailing 12-month average utility supply rate
- Offer a renewable sourced electric commodity product
Also, ESCOs may not offer value-added products and services that have no energy-related benefit and/or are a one-time-only promotion. However, Agway’s EnergyGuard™️ repair protection program was one exception to this rule. The PSC provided Agway the opportunity to continue operating in the state and to continue offering EnergyGuard™ because they felt it provided energy-related value to its customers.
What Does The New York Reset Order Mean For Homeowners?
When the order goes into effect (currently scheduled for August 10, 2020) homeowners receiving their energy from companies who do not comply with the Reset Order will be sent back to the utility or sold. This is why it is so important for homeowners to do their research and to select an energy provider versus having one assigned to them.
In addition, mass-market consumers will eventually see a bill that clearly shows how much they are being charged for the commodity with any additional services broken out separately, utility price comparisons, and for those enrolled in a community solar project a single consolidated bill.
It’s important that New York residents become educated about the Reset Order and aren’t taken by surprise when the deadline hits. Agway Energy Services has broken down the order into easy to understand language which can be viewed at agwayenergy.com/nyreset. In addition, the site provides links to the full PSC Order, to an article explaining the PSC Order and to the order deadline extension.