Texas electricity consumers can avoid telemarketers

Businesses and residential consumers in Texas can avoid getting unsolicited telephone calls from electricity vendors after the market opens on Jan. 1, 2002.

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Dec. 27 -- Businesses and residential consumers in Texas can avoid getting unsolicited telephone calls from electricity vendors after the market opens on Jan. 1, 2002.

Along with the state electricity deregulation law of 1999, the legislature also passed legislation that directed the Public Utility Commission to establish a do-not-call list for electricity consumers who don't want telemarketing calls. The earliest date the list will be available is April 1 and telemarketers have an additional 60 days to update their telephone lists.

The fee to be included on the do-not-call list for 5 years is $2.55.

The electricity market is set to open for retail competition in January 2002. The toll free number and web site established for consumers to place themselves on the list will not be ready until January 1. Consumers can then call 1-866-896-6225, or access the no-call web site at www.texasnocall.com. They can also register by mail at Texas No Call, P.O. Box 313, E. Walpole, MA 02023.

Texans can also join a more general do-not-call list for all other telemarketers at the same toll free number. The general list excludes all telemarketers except non-profits, charities, debt collectors, and telemarketers with a state license. The latter group includes insurance agents, real estate agents, and stockbrokers. To be on the general do-not-call list costs $2.25 for 3 years. Consumers can pay by credit card, check, or money order with a completed registration form obtained from the above mailing address. The general do-not-call list excludes businesses.

Telemarketers who violate the law are subject to penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

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