Burns issues warning about threatening, harassing tactics used by electricity telemarketers

EBENSBURG, July 16 – State Rep. Frank Burns wants to ensure utility customers are aware of recent activity involving unscrupulous tactics used by some electricity telemarketers in an effort to get people to switch power suppliers.


Burns, D-Cambria, said the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has reported an increase in the number of complaints regarding telemarketers who are using harassing and intimidating tactics. One common tactic involves telemarketers informing consumers that their current electricity supplier is going out of business, and they need to switch suppliers if they want to avoid having their power shut off.


“If you – or someone you know – has received a threatening or aggressive telemarketing call or visit to their home that made them feel harassed, I urge you to call the PUC’s Bureau of Consumer Services toll-free at 1-800-692-7380 and also alert your current utility and electricity supplier,” Burns said. “While you have the right to choose your own electric supplier in Pennsylvania, you should never be forced, harassed or threatened to do so.”


Burns says since utility deregulation was enacted in 2010, the PUC regularly cracks down on competitive electrical suppliers who fail to follow the rules, including “slamming” customers by switching their supplier without their authorization.


Consumers should never share their utility account number or other related information unless they intend to change service, but they are not obligated to do so if they want to remain with their current supplier, he added.