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BUSINESS
May 18, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four years into Pennsylvania's much-heralded Era of Electric Choice, it's time to assess. Is it worth switching electricity suppliers? Maybe. Picking plans and suppliers is a gamble, as many discovered, to their dismay, during last year's chilling polar vortex. Since then, the state Public Utility Commission has toughened the rules, to make it harder for shady operators. But never underestimate the creativity of dishonest people. If you follow a few simple rules and filter out most of the noise, I've discovered, there are ways to achieve tortoise-like savings, without much sweat.
NEWS
April 4, 1990 | By Eddie Olsen, Inquirer Staff Writer
The customers were three deep as they placed orders at the Strictly Kosher Meat Market on Marlton Pike in Cherry Hill. Agnes Lieberman waited on customers while her husband, Sam, packaged meat in the rear of the store. Katherine Vocci, an employee, took telephone orders. One customer, a middle-aged woman, brought an armload of flowers into the market and put them on a counter. "Happy spring," the woman said, smiling at Agnes Lieberman. The first 10 days of April are the busiest of the year for the Liebermans.
NEWS
December 31, 1989 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Young didn't want to work Christmas Day and he is not eager to work tomorrow, but as a home heating oil supplier during a record-setting cold spell, he probably will. "I'm like everybody else. I'd like time off," said Young, who owns Martin Fuel Co., 2521 Orthodox St. "But if the weather calls for it, we'll be here. " The same story was heard from other suppliers serving the city's Northeast. Unseasonably cold weather has sent them scurrying to meet consumers' increasing demand for increasingly costly heating oil. A spot check of prices showed suppliers were charging residential customers about $1.25 a gallon on Tuesday, up between 26 cents and 43 cents just in the last month.
NEWS
December 18, 2012
Pennsylvania has more retail electricity suppliers than any other state, according to an industry organization that assesses competitive power markets. The Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States counted 47 retail suppliers in Pennsylvania, and ranked the state second overall behind Texas, the most active market in the country. The report commended the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for constructing market rules that encourage competition. More than 1.9 million Pennsylvania customers - 34 percent - have switched suppliers, according to the PUC's website, www.papowerswitch.com .    - Andrew Maykuth
BUSINESS
January 23, 2013 | By Anne D'innocenzio, Associated Press
BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has alerted its global suppliers that it will immediately drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that have not been authorized by the discounter. Wal-Mart's stricter measure, along with other changes to its policy, comes amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers. The fire in late November killed 112 workers at a factory owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd. Wal-Mart has said the factory wasn't authorized to make its clothes.
BUSINESS
July 19, 2011 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
An association of competitive electrical suppliers launched a campaign Monday to educate consumers about choosing power suppliers, including how to recognize some of the shady sales tactics that have given the industry a black eye. The Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) unveiled a four-page consumer-education guide , an effort to sell a skeptical public on the virtues of giving up regulated utilities. "We're taking more of a leadership role in trying to facilitate the education of consumers about customer choice," David Fein, the group's president, said in a media conference call.
NEWS
July 30, 1987 | By FRANK DOUGHERTY, Daily News Staff Writer
Sid F. Gitterman, the man with nine natural funny faces, is wearing a frown. "This is no laughing matter," said Gitterman, referring to missing street signs at 4th and Vine. "It's a comedy of errors that isn't funny at all. " In May, Gitterman's family opened SUJi designs, an upscale dress distribution firm in an Old City warehouse at 408 Vine St. "Very old warehouse, too - it was built in 1873," quipped Gitterman. But the street identification signs down the block read 4th Street and York Avenue.
NEWS
February 14, 1994 | By Dominic Sama, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The secret of operating a successful fish market is to cultivate rapport with suppliers, says Bernard Grogan, president of Hill's Quality Seafood Markets chain. "My suppliers know that I will return a shipment if it's not perfect," Grogan said. "But it takes years to build up a good trusting relationship with them. " Grogan, 40, started in the fish business at age 12, when he tagged along with his father to work in a fish market operated by an aunt and uncle in Ardmore. His father also was a fish manager for the old Penn Fruit supermarket chain.
BUSINESS
February 15, 2013
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday adopted new rules governing competitive electric markets that it hopes will encourage suppliers to provide more innovative products and will make it easier for customers to switch suppliers. Most of the changes brought about by the new framework will be invisible to customers. But the rules should reduce the frustrating administrative delays that required some customers to wait up to 45 days to switch suppliers. The new rules will shorten the waiting period and by 2015 should allow for instantaneous conversions.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission finalized regulation changes Thursday that will require retail natural-gas suppliers to display key contractual terms and conditions more clearly for customers and to provide more timely information on "contract renewal" and "change in terms" notices. The regulations must be reviewed by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the state Attorney General's Office, the state Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, and the state House Consumer Affairs Committee before going into effect.
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NEWS
July 20, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
Customers of Respond Power L.L.C. will receive more than $5 million in refunds as part of a settlement the retail electricity supplier has reached with Pennsylvania. Public Utility Commission administrative law judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Joel H. Cheskis approved a $5.3 million settlement between Respond and Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane and acting Consumer Advocate Tanya J. McCloskey, who last year charged five suppliers with deceptive practices related to huge price increases they charged during the 2014 polar vortex.
BUSINESS
July 10, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer
Two administrative law judges have recommended that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission penalize an electric supplier $5 million for charging its variable-rate customers high prices during the 2014 Polar Vortex. The order Thursday by Administrative Law Judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Joel H. Cheskis against Blue Pilot Energy L.L.C. is the latest punitive action taken against a competitive energy supplier after power markets went haywire during that harsh winter. The judges found that Blue Pilot, based in Las Vegas, failed to provide accurate pricing information, charged prices that did not conform to its disclosure statement, misleadingly and deceptively promised savings, and lacked good faith in its handling of consumer complaints.
BUSINESS
July 2, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved a settlement requiring retail electricity supplier IDT Energy Inc. to pay about $6.75 million in penalties and refunds for deceptive marketing practices related to high bills during the winter of 2014. IDT will pay $2.4 million in refunds to eligible consumers, in addition to the $4.2 million it has already paid. The company also will pay a civil penalty of $25,000 and contribute $75,000 to the Electric Distribution Companies' hardship funds.
BUSINESS
June 24, 2016 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Staff Writer
An international animal-rights organization on Wednesday accused a supplier of eggs for Malvern-based Eggland's Best of cruelty and neglect of its hens. The company disputed the allegations. Mercy for Animals released undercover photos and videos on Wednesday from two Briarwood Farms locations in Washington State that showed workers mishandling birds, chickens kept in cramped and filthy cages, and sick and dead hens. "To the best of our knowledge . . . those flocks were never supplying Eggland's Best eggs," Bart Slaugh, the company's director of quality assurance, said.
BUSINESS
May 29, 2016 | By Diane Mastrull, Staff Writer
Think outside the box within a proven system. Be involved in the community, such as sponsoring local youth-sports teams. Work on the business, not just in the business. Take advantage of being part of a "team" of other franchisees. That shared experience can lessen your business risks. Embrace customer service and use it to distinguish you from the competition. SOURCE: Andrew Lawrie, cofounder and board member of the Philadelphia Franchise Association. For more information on the networking and educational group for franchisees, franchisors, and suppliers, go to http://philadelphiafranchiseassociation.pagecloud.com .
BUSINESS
April 23, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission finalized regulation changes Thursday that will require retail natural-gas suppliers to display key contractual terms and conditions more clearly for customers and to provide more timely information on "contract renewal" and "change in terms" notices. The regulations must be reviewed by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the state Attorney General's Office, the state Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, and the state House Consumer Affairs Committee before going into effect.
NEWS
December 19, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday reprimanded another competitive electricity supplier for charging customers higher rates than it promised during last year's severe winter. The PUC voted to fine Stamford, Connecticut-based Public Power L.L.C. $72,000 for overcharging about 50 customers whose variable rates it had promised would not go up by more than 15 percent. The company said its new owners, Crius Energy, had discontinued the price-protection plan and that it had failed to recognize existing customers on the plan, resulting in the billing errors.
BUSINESS
December 5, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
A retail electricity supplier that said it faced a choice between financial suicide or dishonoring its promises to customers has been ordered to pay $3.8 million in penalties for breaking its word during last year's polar vortex. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday ordered Hiko Energy L.L.C. of Monsey, N.Y., to pay $1.8 million in civil fines for doubling and even tripling the rates of customers it had promised would pay less for power than their local utility's standard rate.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Aramark shares closed Wednesday at their highest level since the firm went public two years ago. Shares of the Philadelphia food-service provider gained 2.95 percent, or 98 cents, to close at $33.86, one day after Aramark impressed analysts with increased projections of higher profit margins over the next three years. At its first-ever investor day, Aramark officials explained how they would reduce $3 billion in annual food costs and $6 billion in labor costs to boost the company's profit margin to 7.2 percent from 6.2 percent.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Gas Works could save as much as $9.4 million a year, mostly by switching more of its natural gas supplies from the Gulf Coast to less expensive Pennsylvania producers, according to a state audit released Thursday. The audit, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, said PGW could save $6 million to $7 million a year by buying 60 percent of its gas from the Marcellus Shale region, up from 33 percent last year. Before 2013, the PGW secured all of its supply from Louisiana and Texas.
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