Discount Program Upheld, Expanded
An Energy Service Company (ESCO) was participating in a customer referral program sponsored by a distribution utility regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC). That program provided a standardized discount for the first two months of energy supply service for any utility customer agreeing to receive such service from the ESCO rather than from the utility. A consumer advocacy organization challenged that customer referral program in proceedings before the PSC, contending that it violated state and federal antitrust laws.
Our attorneys demonstrated that the PSC’s regulatory authority over the distribution utility displaced state and federal antitrust laws and that the program was pro-competitive rather than anticompetitive. Relying heavily on this analysis presented, the PSC rejected the consumer advocacy organization’s complaint and expanded the referral program to apply to all distribution utilities subject to its jurisdiction.
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