by Brent Addleman
A parent company and three additional electric companies will be exiting the market in Connecticut, Attorney General William Tong said.
A $3 million settlement, the attorney general announced, has been reached with Public Power to resolve litigation that the company did not publish next cycle rate information as required. The company also is to have alleged denying customers a chance to switch to another provider to avoid increased charges.
Public Power and two of its sister companies, and a fourth company, will all exit the power market in September. Funds will be utilized, according to the release, to pay off accumulated, unpaid bills for customers who were facing hardships. The state’s Public Utilities Regulation Authority’s Office of Education, Outreach and Enforcement will also benefit from the settlement.
“Public Power withheld basic required rate information that consumers needed to make an informed choice,” Tong said in the release. “PURA gave them an opportunity to correct that error and make things right. They refused. This $3 million settlement forces Public Power out of the market permanently and will provide substantial debt relief to families in need. Connecticut families pay far too much for their energy. They don’t need to be misled into paying even more.”
PURA discovered, according to the release, in 2018 that third-party electric suppliers were not providing next cycle rate information in the correct manner on their customer’s bills. The information allows the customer to shop around for a better rate.
The organization then granted an amnesty window to the companies who were not in compliance and agreed to forgive penalties, according to the release, for suppliers who self-reported and at the same time reimbursed their customers.
Public Power refused, according to the release, which set off the investigation.
The investigation revealed, according to the release, that Public Power was purchased by Vistra Group, who also owns Ambit, Viridian, CT Gas and Electric, and Energy Rewards in the state. Those companies, under the settlement, will cease operations in the state. Ambit, however, is allowed to continue business beyond September but must reapply for a state license to do business in September 2027.
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Brent Addleman is a regular Associate Editor at The Center Square, and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.