The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted 5-0 on Wednesday to issue a final rulemaking order for marketing and sales practices used by natural gas suppliers.

The order covers a wide range of topics and recommended best practices for direct — or door-to-door — marketing, telemarketing and sales. The commission said the regulations will apply to natural gas suppliers, electric generation suppliers and anyone performing work on their behalf.

“More and more [electric generation suppliers] and [natural gas suppliers] are entering the state’s retail electric and natural gas supply markets,” the agency said. “The commission said suppliers are expected to conduct themselves with the regulations in mind so that their sales and marketing activities do not call into question the fairness and integrity of the competitive market.”

The PUC said the final rulemaking adds to interim guidelines that were adopted on Nov. 6, 2011. They include direct marketing, telemarketing and sales after considering comments from interested parties. The interim guidelines were developed by the PUC’s Office of Competitive Market Oversight after meetings were held with various groups, including the Committee Handling Activities for Retail Growth in Electricity (CHARGE) and Stakeholders Exploring Avenues to Remove Competitive Hurdles (SEARCH).

According to documents filed with the order (Docket No. L-2010-2208332), the rulemaking addresses door-to-door sales, telemarketing, consumer protection and customer complaints. Other topics include customer authorization of account transfers, transactions, verifications and documentation, receipt of disclosure statements, the right to rescind transactions and notification regarding marketing or sales activity.

Agent issues were also addressed. The rulemaking outlines changes to supplier liabilities for their agents, agent qualifications and standards, criminal background investigations for agents, and agent training, compensation, discipline, identification and misrepresentation.

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