Retail Choice Bill of Rights
The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Inc. and other electric distribution companies, as well as energy suppliers, must follow certain rules and regulations designed to protect consumers. Knowing your rights as a consumer will not only ensure that you are protected, it will also enable you to get all the benefits available to you in a competitive electric market.
Transfer of Service
When selecting a new energy supplier, you have the right to receive the following information. The energy supplier must give this information to you before it can accept your request to switch suppliers:
- All prices of the services being offered to you, including any penalties or fees
- How long the energy supplier will guarantee its quoted price and terms
- How long you will need to continue purchasing your energy from the energy supplier
- A description of how to settle a problem if you are unhappy with the service
- An explanation of how you will be billed for the energy you use (Bill through the Co-op or separately?)
- Information on the type of energy provided (i.e., coal, nuclear, wind, hydro, etc.) and the emission levels of those energy sources
- The toll-free telephone number of the Public Utilities Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division
Before an energy supplier can switch your electric service, it must receive written, faxed, electronic or verbal permission from you. Written authorization must be signed by you, and verbal permission must be verified with you by an independent third party.
If you ask for information by telephone, the energy supplier must send you its name, address and telephone number, a statement that the information is being sent per your request, and an additional statement disclosing all of the information identified above under Transfer of Service.
In order to help you understand your electricity charges, all energy suppliers must include certain information on their bills. Be sure to find out whether your energy supplier will bill you through the Co-op or if you will receive a separate bill for electric energy. Electric bills must contain the following information:
- The start and end dates of the billing period
- The prior and current meter readings
- An itemized list of all charges
- Fixed monthly charges
- Price structure for kilowatt-hour use
- Total kilowatt-hours used during the billing period
- Average price per kilowatt-hour during that billing period
- Any penalty charges
- Name, address and telephone number of the energy supplier
- Toll-free telephone number of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s Consumer Affairs Division
- Notification that you have the right to request information for each billing period during the prior year for which the energy supplier provided you with service
- Periodically, your energy supplier will enclose in your bill information on the environmental characteristics of their energy sources
Termination of Energy Supply Contract
If a residential or small commercial customer has failed to meet any of the terms of the agreement for service, the energy supplier must notify the customer before ending the provision of energy service. For more information on the notification process, call the PUC Answer Center at 1-800-528-2070. In the event your energy service is ended, your lights will not go out. Energy will be provided to you as “Co-op Power,” which serves as a back up if or until you are able to locate a new energy supplier. You are not required to select a new energy supplier. You may continue to receive Co-op Power indefinitely. However, if you do not pay your Co-op bills, your electricity could be shut off.
No energy supplier may use an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded voice for telemarketing calls. They may not make telemarketing calls before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
You may ask to have your name placed on a “Do Not Call” list when an energy supplier makes a telemarketing call, and that supplier is not allowed to contact you with future telemarketing phone calls.
Public Utilities Commission
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission is responsible for ensuring consumer protection and safety. If any of these consumer rights are violated, contact the Public Utilities Commission at the number below. You may also contact the PUC if you are unable to resolve a dispute with an energy supplier.