Conn. AG proposes legislation aimed at contracts with electric companies
HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen supported a package of legislative proposals on Tuesday that would address consumer allegations of spiking prices, deceptive practices and hidden contract terms in the electric supplier market. Jepsen joined Governor Dannel Malloy, Consumer Counsel Elin Katz and State Sen. Donald Williams, Jr.,D-Brooklyn, to propose legislation that would require new disclosures, decrease the switch delay when consumers choose to leave a supplier, impose a three-month, fixed-rate requirement in supplier contracts and empower the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to develop new regulations on telemarketing and sales practices. "Over the past few months, my office has received dozens of formal complaints and hundreds of phone calls from Connecticut residents who were shocked to find that their electric bills had skyrocketed," Jepsen said. "It has become exceedingly clear that greater disclosure in the electric supplier market is necessary to protect consumers." The PURA received more than 1,300 consumer complaints about electric suppliers and aggregators in 2014. The state's electric utility companies reported that some suppliers were charging rates that were more than double the standard service rate of just over nine cents per kilowatt hour. "The goal of this legislation is to provide consumers with more information so that they can make the best choices when shopping for an electric supplier and to empower regulators to crack down on deceptive marketing practice within the industry," Jepsen said. "Consumers also need much greater flexibility to quickly extract themselves from expensive variable-rate plans and to get back onto standard service, which has proved to be a much better deal for the majority of ratepayers." The 2014 legislative session will adjourn on May 7.