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New Jersey goes after three power suppliers

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    The state of New Jersey has filed complaints against a trio of third-party energy suppliers, accusing them of defrauding customers by misrepresenting potential cost savings.

    Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, the state Division of Consumer Affairs and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities filed the complaints against Palmco Power NJ, LLC & Palmco Energy NJ LLC; HIKO Energy LLC; and Keil & Sons Inc., doing business as Systrum Energy.

    “These three companies allegedly lured consumers with promised monthly savings that turned out to be fictional,” Hoffman said in a news release. “Even worse, consumers who hoped to save money instead saw their bills increase to unconscionable levels. To be clear, our action relates to the specific practices of these three companies and is not an indication of wrong-doing by other third-party energy suppliers. Deception and misrepresentation of consumers has no place in any aspect of New Jersey’s marketplace.”

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    The state is accusing the three power providers of claiming customers would save money by switching suppliers and then, during this winter, socking them with higher bills than they would have gotten from the previous provider.

    The state also claims two of the three, Palmco and HIKO, were involved in “slamming,” or switching customers’ suppliers without their knowledge or consent.

    “We allege that these three third-party energy suppliers took advantage of the energy needs of New Jersey’s consumers during an unusually long and cold winter,” acting Director of Consumer Affairs Steve Lee said in the release. “We hope that the filing of these actions sends a message to all potential wrongdoers that using fraud and deception to entice vulnerable consumers to switch energy suppliers will not pay.”

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    Eric Strauss

    Eric Strauss

    Eric Strauss is the digital content editor for NJBIZ. He has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as for a number of websites. You can contact him at erics@njbiz.com or @acerimrat on Twitter.

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