The staff of the Federal Trade Commission on September 4 filed a comment with the Louisiana Public Service Commission in response to its request for comments about consumer protection issues related to regulatory reforms in the electric industry.
The FTC has a longstanding interest in regulation and competition in energy markets and has submitted comments about competition and consumer protection issues to federal and state agencies.
In its comment, the FTC staff addressed two consumer protection topics: 1) educating consumers about the impact of electricity restructuring; and 2) regulation of electric service providers (ESPs), such as power marketers. The staff noted that in competitive electricity markets, advertising will be one of the primary sources from which consumers obtain information about the electricity industry, and consumers are likely to face a wide variety of price offers, contract terms and environmental or service claims. The staff suggested that Louisiana officials consider developing standardized disclosure requirements for ESPs as well as rules for ESP affiliates of regulated utilities, and licensing or registration requirements. In addition, the staff highlighted billing, credit and collection issues, as well as customer privacy concerns the state may wish to consider.
The Commission vote to approve the staff comment was 4-0.
NOTE: The comment represents the views of staff members of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection and not necessarily the views of the Commission or any individual Commissioner.
Copies of the full text of the comment are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. V980025)