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NY regulators ban energy company sales to low-income people

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  New York regulators are prohibiting energy service companies from selling electricity and natural gas to the state's low-income customers. 

The Public Service Commission's action Thursday replaces a previous moratorium, which is being challenged in court by the industry. The ban takes effect in 60 days. 

PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman says the action was taken because the companies, known as ESCOs, have been defeating the purpose of the state's low-income discount program by price-gouging. 

There are about 200 ESCOs in New York. 

The Retail Energy Supply Association said it's disappointed in PSC's action. The trade group said the PSC has ample oversight authority to use without denying the benefits of a competitive market to an entire class of customers.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.