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Electric utility warns against scheme

February 14, 1998

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Area residents are being warned against imposters posing as Allegheny Power Co. employees who have been going door-to-door trying to charge the electric customers for enrolling in a pilot program, a company spokesman said Friday.

John J. Vincze said the deadline for enrolling in the trial program for selecting an electricity provider has passed.

Pennsylvania recently passed a law calling for the breakup of the electrical power monopoly in the state to encourage competition, much like the breakup of the telephone monopoly, Vincze said.

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission decided to put the law in effect by launching a year-long pilot program involving about 278,000 electric utility customers. Those selected get to choose their own supplier from among 42 licensed firms, including Allegheny Power, Vincze said.

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Until now, electric customers could only buy electricity from their local utility.

Letters were sent to all Allegheny Power customers last fall asking them to sign up for the pilot program. A second mailing was sent in January when the PUC extended the sign-up period to ensure that enough customers would enroll, Vincze said.

The last customers signed up in January.

"There should not be any suppliers soliciting customers," George Blankenship, project leader of Allegheny Power's Customer Choice Pilot Program, said in a prepared statement. "Furthermore, there never was a fee to enroll in the pilot."

All Allegheny Power employees carry company identification cards which they show on request.

Customers who suspect that they may have been victimized by such as scheme can call the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office consumer hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or Allegheny Power at 1-800-Allegheny or 1-800-255-3443.

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