To make matters more complicated, electricity customers here in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are often paying a deregulated utility in a completely different state, such as Verde Energy in Norwalk, Conn., and Major Energy in Rockland County, N.Y., according to such readers as Daniel Velazquez.
"One senior housing complex was living at 50 degrees," said Victoria Hackett, staff attorney with the Consumer Office of Consumer Counsel in New Britain, Conn., who has fielded complaints about suppliers also doing business in this region. "That's not a choice seniors should have to make."
In New Jersey
Customers can file complaints with the state's Board of Public Utilities ( www.state.nj.us/bpu). Click on "Customer Assistance" to learn more about unauthorized switching or billing. The board has received about 1,200 complaints to date this year, especially for a practice called "slamming," in which customers' utility rates or service are changed without their knowledge.
Call the Board of Public Utilities at 800-624-0241 or 609-341-9188. The 609 number referred us to the BPU website and to the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel in Trenton ( www.state.nj.us/rpa), reachable by telephone at 609-984-1460.
Call the Office of Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau at 800-441-2555 or Tanya McCloskey at the state Office of the Consumer Advocate at 800-684-6560. The Consumer Advocate's website is also helpful: www.oca.state.pa.us.
To file by e-mail, send a consumer complaint form, available at www.attorneygeneral.gov (click on "Complaints"). Download and/or scan all relevant documents and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.