Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
Chapter 312. Rules Governing Retail Access to Competitive Energy Services
8/3/2020

20VAC5-312-70. Marketing.

A. A competitive service provider shall provide, in any advertisements, solicitations, marketing materials, or customer service contracts, accurate, understandable information, in a manner that is not misleading. Any such materials specifying a price for electricity supply service or natural gas supply service shall include a statement to the effect that distribution service and other charges are not included.

B. A competitive service provider shall provide to a prospective residential customer, by mail or by electronic means, prior to, or contemporaneously with, the written contract, an estimated electricity supply service or natural gas supply service annual bill assuming average monthly usage of 1,000 kWh of electricity or 7.5 Mcf or 75 therms of natural gas, including all fees and minimum or fixed charges, exclusive of any nonrecurring financial or nonfinancial incentives, and the total average price per kWh, Mcf, or therm based on the annual bill. If a competitive service provider's offer cannot be adequately described in such a manner or if the prospective customer is other than a residential customer, the competitive service provider shall furnish similar information that will allow prospective customers to reasonably compare the price of electricity supply service or natural gas supply service, if purchased from a competitive service provider, to the price of equivalent service provided by the local distribution company.

C. Customer service contracts shall include:

1. Price or, if the exact price cannot feasibly be specified, an explanation of how the price will be calculated;

2. Length of the service contract, including any provisions for automatic contract renewal;

3. Provisions for termination by the customer and by the competitive service provider including disclosure of any potential minimum stay requirements of the local distribution company;

4. A statement of any minimum contract terms, minimum or maximum usage requirements, minimum or fixed charges, any other charges, and any required deposit;

5. Applicable fees including, but not limited to, start-up fees, cancellation fees, late payment fees, and fees for checks returned for insufficient funds;

6. A notice of billing terms and conditions;

7. A toll-free telephone number and an address for inquiries and complaints;

8. A clear and conspicuous caption: "CUSTOMER'S RIGHT TO CANCEL," that shall appear on the front side of the contract, or immediately above the customer's signature, in bold face type of a minimum size of 10 points, and a statement under such caption that a customer may cancel the contract, without penalty, with the competitive service provider by notifying the competitive service provider or local distribution company prior to the close of business on the tenth day following the mailing of notice by the local distribution company of an enrollment request. Such statement shall be modified as appropriate for those customers that have specifically agreed with the competitive service provider to a shorter cancellation period as provided by subsection D of this section;

9. In a conspicuous place, confirmation of the customer's request for enrollment and the approximate date the customer's service shall commence;

10. A notice that, upon request by the customer, the competitive service provider shall provide a copy of its dispute resolution procedure; and

11. A notice that, upon any change in the terms and conditions of the contract, including any provisions governing price or pricing methodology, or assignment of the contract to another competitive service provider, the competitive service provider shall communicate such changes to the customer at least 30 days in advance of implementing such changes.

D. A competitive service provider and a nonresidential customer that is subject to demand-based billing charges may contractually agree to a shorter cancellation period than stated in subdivision C 8 of this section. The competitive service provider shall inform the customer that although the customer has waived the right to the 10-day cancellation period, the customer will still receive notification from the local distribution company indicating a 10-day cancellation period.

E. A competitive service provider that claims its offerings possess unusual or special attributes shall maintain documentation to substantiate any such claims. Such documentation may be made available through electronic means and a written explanation shall be provided promptly upon request of any customer, prospective customer, competitive service provider, local distribution company, or the State Corporation Commission.

F. Prior to the enrollment of a customer with a competitive service provider, an aggregator shall provide written notice to the customer identifying the name, toll-free telephone number, and address of the selected competitive service provider.

G. An aggregator that receives or expects to receive compensation from both a customer, or a prospective customer, and the customer's competitive service provider shall disclose in writing to the customer the existence or expectation of such an arrangement.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-235.8 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 17, Issue 22, eff. August 1, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 04, eff. October 10, 2001; Errata, 18:7 VA.R. December 17, 2001.

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