Coakley reaches $1.25M settlement with Berkshire Gas Co.

Drew Smith Nov. 6, 2008, 2:23pm


BOSTON, Mass. (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has reached a settlement agreement with Pittsfield-based Berkshire Gas Company that resolves an investigation into the company's handling of a gas supply contract in 2004.

The settlement, if approved by the Department of Public Utilities, stipulates that Berkshire will pay $1.25 million in credits to consumers this winter, which will equate to approximately $50 per customer.

"The Commonwealth's gas utilities are required to serve their customers with least cost and reliable gas," Coakley said.

"The agreement reached with Berkshire Gas ensures that customers are compensated for the company's loss of its gas supply contract in 2004 while providing them with a significant bill credit at the height of the winter heating season."

The settlement is a result of a December 2007 DPU investigation into whether Berkshire acted reasonably in handling the loss of a gas supply contract and whether it mitigated costs to customers.

Coakley alleged that the company did not take all steps necessary to protect customer interests resulting from the loss of the gas supply contract in 2004.

The agreement also required Berkshire to enhance its monitoring, analysis and enforcement of gas supply and all resource contracts that fail in the future.

Berkshire provides service to more than 36,000 customers in 20 Massachusetts cities. The company will also pay consumers $50,000 in credit next year.

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