Proposal to provide restitution for oil heating consumers

Nick Rees Dec. 22, 2009, 5:47pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Oil company customers who are owed heating oil or money following the March 2008 of F&S Oil Co. could see some relief following Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's submission of a proposed settlement to the court that will provide approximately $1 million in restitution.

"Scarce assets were a huge hurdle in our tough fight for restitution, but this result assures some relief. This case sends a powerful message: heating oil companies must fulfill their commitments to consumers and adhere to the law," Blumenthal said. "I will continue turning up the heat on oil companies that fail to follow state statutes, requiring them to secure supply."

Superior Court Judge Grant Miller will consider the settlement, reached in cooperation with the Department of Consumer Protection, at a hearing Wednesday in Hartford Superior Court. If approved, a claims administrator and the attorney general's office will determine what each customer receives.

More than 2,500 F&S Oil customers filed complaints with Blumenthal's office over lost money following the company's closing in March 2008, including consumers with prepaid and flat rate contracts.

"This agreement pays $1 million in restitution - money back for undelivered oil or services - to consumers F& S Oil literally left out in the cold," Blumenthal said. "Residential customers burned by prepaid or flat rate contracts will receive first preference, recovering hard-earned cash paid for vital heating oil. This settlement is well-deserved and welcome - hopefully in time to help pay this winter's heating bill.

If the settlement is approved, F&S Oil customers who filed complaints with Blumenthal's office will be mailed paperwork with their claim amounts already filled in. The consumer will then have to sign the claims and return them for consideration. Blumenthal hopes that the restitution will be paid to consumers later this winter.

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