Conn. AG wants charges during storm waived

Bryan Cohen Nov. 11, 2011, 2:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen asked all state providers of telecommunications, television and Internet services on Thursday to waive charges for the period its customers were without service following an Oct. 29 storm.

Jepsen sent letters Thursday to the executives of 15 companies, asking them to consider his request and to respond in writing with their decision.

"The early winter storm on October 29-30 has created unprecedented hardships - physical, emotional and financial - for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut citizens," Jepsen said. "It is a matter of fundamental fairness that residents not have to pay for services that were unavailable for lack of electricity or other storm-related reasons."

The letter was in response to complaints and questions by Connecticut consumers throughout the state about being charged for services they were unable to use for an extended period because they had no electricity or a service interruption.

"I encourage you to ensure that all your Connecticut customers, whose services were interrupted by this storm, are given full, pro-rata credit for the time they were unable to access your services, without the need for individual requests," Jepsen said.

On a related issue, Jepsen wrote to the Propane Gas Association of New England this week, raising antitrust concerns about correspondence the association sent to its members that discouraged them from filling the gas tanks of competitors, despite Executive Order 15 authorizing them to do so.

Governor Dannel Malloy issued Executive Order 15 on Nov. 3 in response to emergency conditions in the state and the possible inability of propane gas customers to have their tanks refilled by the same company that owns the tank. The order remains in effect for 30 days, unless it is revoked sooner.

"This office has concerns that your communication may have been designed to encourage or facilitate a group boycott or concerted refusal to deal among horizontal competitors in violation of the Connecticut Antitrust Act," Jepsen said to the Association office in Epsom, N.H.

Jepsen asked association officials to distribute his letter to its membership.

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