New Jersey lawmakers want to increase the penalties to discourage third-party energy suppliers from taking advantage of consumers.
Assemblyman Ron Dancer says his bill would double the fines for “slamming”. That’s when a company or marketer changes a consumer’s electric or gas provider without their permission.
“They prey upon elderly, seniors, and those that maybe don’t have English as their first speaking language. Without their knowledge or consent these individuals are having their energy supplier changed and their rates increased.”
Assemblyman Dan Benson say the legislation that he co-sponsored would increase the fine for the first slamming offense to $25,000 and $50,000 for every subsequent violation.
“Oftentimes it’s not going to be one single customer that gets slammed. You’re going to see there’s a whole host of folks that they’re trying to do this. So by doubling that now, we’re doubling this up into hopefully the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions if they go after a large number of customers.”
Benson says the current penalty not stopped unscrupulous companies from taking advantage of residents, and he hopes the higher fines would be a deterrent.