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Federal Trade Commission staff submitted a comment in response to a request from the New York State Public Service Commission (NY PSC) for comments on competition and consumer protection rules in New York’s retail electricity markets. The FTC staff comment emphasizes that carefully designed consumer protection policies often can achieve their goals without reducing or distorting competition.

The comment encourages the NY PSC to consider policies that will accommodate beneficial new technology, as policies tailored to existing, relatively undifferentiated electricity supply services will likely become obsolete in the next decade.  The comment also notes that disclosures can enable consumers to make better choices if they not only disclose pertinent facts but also present them in a way that consumers find easy to understand.  The comment recommends that the NY PSC consider employing experts in consumer education and communications and using rigorous consumer testing in developing disclosures.

The Commission vote approving the comment was 5-0. (FTC File No. V130000; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702.)

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