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Energy Choice: Know Your Rights!

Understanding energy marketers and consumer rightsEnergy Choice: Know Your Rights!

Many Ohioans can choose who supplies the electricity and/or natural gas they use through an energy marketer certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Ohio law clearly defines rules and codes of conduct marketers must follow. This fact sheet offered by the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) provides vital information about your rights. 

You may encounter energy marketers a variety of ways, including door-to-door visits, phone calls, mailings, in-store promotions, and social media ads. Purchasing energy from a marketer is risky. You must take your time, do your homework, and make well-informed decisions or risk overpaying—sometimes by hundreds of dollars. OCC’s “How to Make Wise Energy Choices” fact sheet at can help.

Marketers must: 

  • Clearly identify themselves as representing a marketer (not the utility, municipality, or a government agency). 
  • Show valid photo identification.
  • Clearly describe rate types and any variable rate changes without making misleading promises. Marketers are prohibited from using deceptive practices or high-pressure sales. 
  • Fully disclose contract details, including costs, taxes, duration, and your right to cancel. Cancellation rights must be verbally explained and right-to-cancel forms provided.
  • Provide independent third-party verification (TPV) to confirm your intention to switch prior to submitting the contract to the utility for certain sales. More information about TPVs is below. 

Third-party verification (TPV) 

  • All enrollments through telephone or door-to-door solicitation must be verified by an independent third party to ensure contract legitimacy. 
  • When the sales transaction is complete, the marketer should provide the information to initiate the TPV and leave the premises.
  • The marketer should not return before, during, or after the TPV process.
  • Independent verifiers should confirm the marketer has left and give you enough time to answer questions and not lead your responses.

Some marketers have a waiver to offer a digital TPV through electronic communication, but you should be given the option of a telephone (voice) TPV. A voice TPV allows for a recording of your consent to ensure you really agreed to the contract. Some energy marketers with digital TPV waivers have been served non-compliance letters from the PUCO for deceptive and misleading practices, although the letters did not cite the use of digital TPV as the reason. 

Enrollment and contracts 

Marketers are prohibited from enrolling consumers without consent but your signature is consent. Before you sign, make sure you understand the entire contract, including any fees for signing up or canceling, its duration, renewal terms, and procedures for handling complaints. Be sure to compare the marketer’s offer to other offers, including your utility’s standard offer and your community’s governmental aggregation program if they have one. 

After you sign, the marketer must provide you with a copy of the contract and notify your local utility within 3-5 days. You will receive a confirmation notice from your utility, which you can cancel within seven days without penalties.

Beware of Slamming

Slamming is the unauthorized switch of your energy supplier. 

  • Do not share personal information or account information unless you intend to switch suppliers. This includes showing anyone or verifying information from your bill. It contains all the information necessary to switch your supplier. 
  • If you believe you have been slammed, or a company is listed on your electric or natural gas bill that you do not recognize, contact your utility, and inquire about the change. 
  • If you have been slammed, ask to be returned to your original agreement and for any charges related to the unwanted switch be removed from your bill. Also, contact the PUCO to tell them you were slammed and by what company (marketer). 

You should not be charged any penalties by the slamming company and your account should be credited for any switching fees. 

Complain to the PUCO

You have rights even if you have not been slammed. If you feel pressured by a marketer or were pressured into switching your energy provider, only to find it didn’t save you money as the salesperson promised, report it to PUCO:

Reduce Solicitations

You have the right to remove your name from marketing lists and stop utilities from sharing your personal information with marketers. If you want to reduce telephone solicitations, first contact your utility, and ask them not to share your information with marketers. Then, register your phone number(s) on the National Do Not Call Registry. Marketers are required to follow the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call rules. To learn more, including how to register, visit and OCC’s Block the Knock webpage at 


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If you need multiple copies for an organization or group, please contact a member of our outreach team.