(The Center Square) – A New York-based green energy company plans to appeal a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruling that ended its ability to do business in the state.
A PUCO investigation said RPA Energy, also know as Green Choice Energy, forged Ohio customer signatures and altered recorded sales calls. The commission ruled Wednesday the company can no longer do business in the state and faces a $1.44 million fine for 159 violations.
RPA must also refund customers the difference between their rates and the local utilities’ default rates.
RPA services customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois and Michigan.
“There is no room for misleading or deceptive practices in Ohio’s competitive electricity or natural gas markets,” PUCO Chairwoman Jenifer French said. “We take these violations seriously and will not tolerate suppliers taking advantage of Ohioans.”
Green Energy President and CEO Brian Trombino said Thursday afternoon the company plans to appeal to PUCO and, if necessary, ultimately to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“The order was neither reasonable nor lawful and we’re confident the Supreme Court of Ohio will agree,” Trombino said.
The investigation detailed in a nearly 1,500-page report revealed alleged violations such as forging customer signatures, nondisclosure of monthly fees, misleading statements, unauthorized third-party verification, altered sales call recordings and door-to-door marketing during PUCO’s pandemic restrictions.
In one complaint in the investigation, a consumer said RPA told her that her husband, “James,” agreed to the enrollment and provided a third-party verification and signed contract. The woman said that she lives alone, her husband is deceased and his name was “Donald.”
“The decision we render today should serve to underscore the seriousness with which the PUCO takes activities of this nature,” PUCO Commissioner Lawrence Friedeman said. “That said, thousands upon thousands of customers have migrated to competitive suppliers’ products without incident or complaint. I would encourage this larger segment of the competitive community to proceed with unwavering dedication to and focus on regulatory compliance and customer benefit.”