What is PURA considering for Connecticut electricity consumers?
Customers have complained that several third-party energy suppliers that are not complying with a state order to disclose upcoming rates to customers on their electricity bills. Now the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is now deciding what to do about it.
What is the state order that electricity suppliers must follow?
In 2015, PURA decided that customers must be notified on their energy bills of any upcoming changes to their rates for the next cycle, as well as the cancellation fee (if any), comparisons with the distributor’s standard rate (if any) and if the rate is considered variable. This transparency is to allow customers to see any upcoming changes and allows them to decide if they wish to switch CT electricity suppliers or not. Many third-party suppliers didn’t comply with the state order. Now, PURA is deciding what to do about it.
Connecticut residents can choose from the two state utilities; Eversource Energy and United Illuminating Co., or from licensed third-party suppliers whose rates may or may not be lower than the state utilities. By 2012, 47% of Connecticut households had switched to third-party electricity suppliers. However, rising prices and variable rates have sent many back to the state utilities. According to the Officer of Consumer Counsel, from November 2017 to October 2018, third-party Connecticut electricity suppliers claimed less than 25% of Eversource’s residential customers and under 32% of United Illuminating’s.
What are PURA’s options?
The same report by the Consumer Counsel revealed that from November 2017 to October 2018, residential customers who went through a third-party supplier paid over $38.7 million more than those on the standard offer. PURA, however, is unable to force these suppliers to pay restitution to customers who may have seen sudden price hikes in their energy bills due to lack of correct reporting and sudden cold snaps that spiked electricity prices. Because PURA can levy fines against the companies themselves, it is considering an “amnesty period” to allow suppliers to offer customers refunds. This would protect them from PURA fines. PURA, in turn, would agree not to file civil penalties against them.
Keep up to date on energy news with CT Energy Ratings!
Connecticut customers may potentially see refunds on their electric bills in the future if PURA’s amnesty period for suppliers is successful. You can keep up to date with future changes right here, and don’t forget, you can visit https://www.ctenergyratings.com/electricity-rates to compare what choices and plans are available right now.