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AT&T Customers are Entitled to Refund for Unauthorized Charges (Cramming).  The Federal Communication Commission reached a Settlement with AT&T.  AT&T will provide $80 Million for Refunds to Consumers who were billed for "third-party services.  SEE LINK for more Information 

VERIZON LIFELINE--Verizon has announced a phone number change, for consumers to apply for this assistance program.  The new number is 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966)

Physician Certification of Serious Illness or Life Support (PSC form SC-1).  PSC Staff has recommended a rule change to allow "nurse practitioners" the ability to sign this form.  SEE OPC ALERT

See OPC's new "Guide to Understanding Fee Options for Smart Meters" in PUBLICATIONS.

OPC applauds Public Service Commission order on Uber Technologies' operations in Maryland.  The PSC found that Uber provides transportation services to the public and is regulated by the PSC.  OPC Press Release


OPC opposition to PEPCO's  rate increase delivers benefits.  PSC has ruled that PEPCO will receive 20% less of the amount requested last December 2013, in PSC Case 9336.

New law (SB 1044/HB 928) requires the PSC to set up a work group and evaluate the adequacy of its existing supplier consumer protection rules.  This is timely in light of the variable rate problems for consumers, and consumer complaints about slamming and deceptive marketing.   

PSC issues order in Case 9340, addressing high winter bills, utility plans to assist customers and the role played by extreme variable pricing by energy suppliers. OPC testified and submitted recommendations in that case, and will be part of the work groups established by the Commission to look at rule changes.

OPC files a Request for Rehearing of the PSC's order on Starion Energy in PSC Case 9340 on April 7, 2014.  Link to PSC  The Commission found numerous serious consumer protections violations and imposed a substantial penalty, but left some important issues on the table regarding Starion's deceptive variable pricing practices and violations of the Telephone Solicitations Act.

Due to high complaint volumes this winter, the PSC opens investigations of several energy suppliers regarding Variable Rate Pricing Practices this winter (2013-2014) in PSC 9346 and 9347.  OPC sought relief for Starion Energy customers for high prices in 2012-2013 winter, and will pursue relief in these cases as well.  

CONSUMER ALERT--NEW WEBSITE to address high bill problems this winter:

This highlights the commitment of major utilities to provide payment plans and new budget billing assistance for customers receiving high bills this winter.   

CONSUMER ALERT--Public Service Commission has issued an order in Case #9340 (2014 Utility Arrearage, Collection, and Termination Practices).  OPC filed Written Comments and testified on March 7, 2014.

CONSUMER ALERT--HIGH WINTER BILLS--OPC has prepared two alert notices with information about high winter bills, utility budget billing plans to help consumers, and energy assistance referrals. 
BGE Special 2014 Budget Billing Plan 
High Winter Bills Information Alert