Bryan Cohen Jun. 10, 2013, 6:11pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz announced an order Friday that will secure refunds for utility customers who were billed illegally for electricity.

The state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority upheld a petition on Thursday filed by Jepsen and Katz that sought a PURA review after receiving multiple complaints from the residents of a New Haven apartment building. The residents were allegedly billed for heating and cooling costs through a system that represented illegal sub-metering of electricity.

"Sub-metering of electricity is restricted by state law because it does not afford consumers the same protections the law provides for utility customers," Jepsen said. "I am pleased the PURA agreed and ordered the property manager to stop the practice and refund the money collected to tenants."

Energy Management Systems, a utility rebilling company, allegedly billed the tenants for electricity used to operate the complex's heating, air conditioning and ventilation system based on estimated usage. PURA ordered EMS and PMC Property Group Inc., the manager of the complex, to fully refund tenants by June 26.

While current law allows for sub-metering at recreational campgrounds, marinas and other approved locations, PMC did not seek authorization from PURA prior to beginning sub-metering activity in March 2012.

A new energy policy bill approved by Connecticut's General Assembly would allow sub-metering in commercial and residential buildings with PURA's approval and where regulators have established the appropriate protections for consumers.

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