Prosecutors for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission are seeking to revoke the license of electricity supplier Verde Energy USA Inc. for deceptive marketing and sales practices, including enrolling customers who were dead.
In a Jan. 30 complaint, prosecutors from the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement alleged “egregious behavior” that includes roughly 9,000 violations of energy marketing and other utility regulations. Up to 339 customers were affected by deceptive telemarketing or door-to-door activities, according to the complaint, which seeks $8.8 million in civil penalties and refunds for certain customers. (Docket No. C-2020-3017229)
The alleged misleading and deceptive telemarketing and door-to-door sales activity included the unauthorized switching of customers’ energy suppliers; threatening to disconnect customers’ service; using private customer information to falsely report power outages or falsely submit requests to disconnect service; and “spoofing” phone numbers on telemarketing calls to falsely identify the call as coming from another utility or local number.
“Of grave concern, three … of the unauthorized switches involved Verde enrolling a customer who was deceased,” the complaint said.