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CPBJ Extra Blog

Is your electric generator Ethical?

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Sorting through announcements from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office can be a tedious process, but an item last week awakened my love of irony.

Ethical Electric Inc. is an electric generation supplier that provides 100 percent clean and renewable energy to customers in Pennsylvania’s deregulated electricity market and in six other states and the District of Columbia, according to its website. So far, so good.

But an attorney general’s office announcement last Thursday could raise some, shall we say, Ethical concerns.

Ethical sent letters to potential customers with markings like “Second Notice” and “Important” and the names of default utility companies at the top as if the letter was from the utility itself, the office alleged in a news release. Due to the appearance of the letters, consumers were left with the impression that a program was being offered through their default utility company rather than through a third party.

The issue was resolved through an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, an agreement that is not considered an admission of a violation by the alleged wrongdoer. Ethical has agreed to pay $6,000 to the attorney general’s office and to comply with the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law, the news release said.

“As the agreement states, there was no finding or admission of wrong-doing,” Ethical said in a written statement. “Further, no consumers have alleged that they were misled into purchasing anything. Instead the AG's office asked us to change the design of some marketing materials in response to two complaints they received from PA residents. We voluntarily agreed.”

I suppose the moral of the story is: Be careful before judging an electric supplier on the basis of their name alone. You probably already knew that, but if a company called Really Cheap Electric comes along some day, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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