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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has recommended a series of punishments for electricity and natural gas supplier Verde Energy, who the PUCO contends engaged in unauthorized marketing practices between Oct. 2018 and April 2019.

The first sanctions against the company came in May, when the PUCO asked Verde to cease all marketing activities and customer enrollment in Ohio. That ban is effective until Oct. 2020.

PUCO Recommendations: No-Cost Customer Exits, MVR Suspension, Fines

The recommendation filing was brief in its discussion of what the PUC is offering as a settlement for Verde’s poor marketing behaviors.

After requiring a moratorium on Verde’s marketing and customer enrollments, the PUCO confirmed the conditions of the order.

“Verde Energy will withdraw from Dominion’s MVR [Monthly Variable Rate] program for a period of one year, commencing as of the date Verde Energy notified Dominion of its withdrawal from the MVR program,” the filing noted. “Verde Energy may enroll retail customers through Dominion’s MVR program at the conclusion of this one-year period.”

Second, the PUCO is requiring Verde to re-rate customers they acquired from Oct. 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

The new rate would be “the second lowest 12-month-fixed 100% renewable price” on the PUCO’s apples-to-apples price comparison website.

The PUCO also required Verde to notify customers they enrolled from June 1, 2018 forward that they can exit their contracts without penalty or fee.

The final stipulation in the PUC’s settlement order requires that Verde Energy pays a $675,000 fine.

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