For years consumer groups have been urging the Public Utility Commission to provide a report card on the state’s electric retailers, a tool to help customers make better decisions in there power plan shopping. The PUC (and many retailers) have been somewhat reluctant, noting that data such as the number of complaints received can be misleading since bigger companies with more customers will get more complaints.
It seems the recent power markets turmoil has spurred some action as the PUC put a new complaint report card online Tuesday afternoon.
The methodology behind it is a bit complicated (you can read it here) but it essentially tells you if the level of complaints against providers are above, at or below the level of complaints for the industry as a whole. The five-point rating system is actually an average of complaints over the previous six months.
A helpful addition might be knowing how many of the complaints actually were determined to be violations of state laws governing retail electric providers, but this is a start.
Javier Vega, CEO of Amigo Energy (which is in the middle of the pack, according to the PUC complaint data) said he’d like to see the report card reflect more than just number of complaints but their resolution.
“I’ll get a complaint that just says ‘Amigo is a lousy company,'” Vega said. “All I can do is respond to the complaint saying ‘No, we’re not,’ but it would still count against me the same as a complaint to another company that found they violated state rules.”
Do you find this tool helpful?
Top of the class, for now.