The Delaware Public Service Commission opened PSC Docket No. 20-0451 on July 29 to investigate misleading marketing practices by third-party electric suppliers.
The Delaware PSC staff and Delaware Division of the Public Advocate have reported receiving an increasing number of complaints from residential electric customers in Delaware alleging telemarketers who are not affiliated with Delmarva Power & Light Company have spoofed them, using a caller ID that reads “Delmarva Power” in order to get the customer to answer or accept the call.
Based on a subsequent PSC staff investigation, some of the calls have been traced back to a call center in Lahore, Pakistan. The PSC staff is investigating whether any third-party electric suppliers in Delaware use this call center to make sales calls in Delaware.
This issue has also been escalated to the Delaware Department of Justice and is under review for further action.
“Unethical persons and entities are attempting to damage the extensive work that was done to bring the retail choice program to Delaware. These dishonest practices disregard PSC regulations and target anyone in Delaware, including those who may not even be eligible customers. I consider these actions even more heinous given the economic hardship many Delawareans are experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Raj Barua, PSC executive director.
“Third-party supplier contracts are made even more difficult to understand by unscrupulous practices of third-party suppliers spoofing the numbers of Delmarva Power, local hospitals and others. This practice must end, and I appreciate the Public Service Commission opening a docket to address this issue,” said Public Advocate Drew Slater.
Electric supply charges make up approximately 65 percent of a typical residential electric bill, and third-party electric suppliers offer Delmarva Power & Light customers a choice regarding their electric supply. Suppliers must apply to the Delaware PSC to be certified and must follow PSC regulations regarding sales practices.
Customers who think they may have been spoofed by a third-party electric supplier should contact the Delaware Public Advocate’s Office at 302-241-2555 or the Public Service Commission at 302-736-7500.
The Public Service Commission regulates investor-owned utilities and works to ensure safe, reliable, and reasonably priced service. The Division of the Public Advocate advocates for the lowest reasonable utility rates, principally on behalf of residential and small commercial customers.