Blumenthal complains about utility, has request denied by DPUC

John O'Brien Sep. 5, 2007, 1:55pm


HARTFORD, Conn.- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal took his gripe with Connecticut Light & Power to the state Legislature Tuesday, claiming the utility owes consumers an apology.

Blumenthal testified to what he feels are continuing problems with malfunctioning electricity meters and poor customer service by CL&P before the Energy and Technology Committee and was joined by several consumers critical of the utility.

"Consumer complaints describe frustration with CL&P's refusal to effectively investigate their meters -- incredibly ignoring inexplicable sharp spikes in electricity bills," Blumenthal said. "My office has been working to resolve these complaints, but their number and the CL&P pattern of non-responsiveness indicates a more prevalent, pernicious problem."

Blumenthal, who is also investigating similar complaints against United Illuminating, said CL&P owes consumers a public apology and possibly compensation for legal bills and possible overbilling.

He added that he is looking into more than 100 complaints received in the past three months. He addressed the alleged problem earlier this month and said he is reaching out to other attorneys general.

"My investigation is continuing - actively and aggressively - disclosing more powerful evidence of an appalling past pattern and practice of disregard and denial," Blumenthal said. "CL&P verges on a state of denial -- disregarding a deluge of credible customer reports of malfunctioning meters, and failing to address real life consumer problems."

On Friday, the Department of Public Utility Control denied his request that would have barred AT&T from signing up customers for its Internet television service. Blumenthal feels, per federal ruling, the service should be regulated like cable.

The DPUC said it would not grant Blumenthal's request because AT&T asked for a reconsideration of the federal ruling, according to the Hartford Courant.

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