State looks into the honesty of electric carriers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State looks into the honesty of electric carriers

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The first of two public hearings looking into electric rates took place Wednesday night at town hall in Milford.

The hearing was organized by the Public Utilities Regulation Authority.

Customers who showed up said they switched from United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power, hoping to get a better rate. However, they said they received a bigger bill.

"My bills have never been so high," one customer said.

Eyewitness News first heard these complaints in January.

Customers of carriers like Starion Energy and Discount Power said they did not understand why charges jumped from $100 to $300 in a single month.

One homeowner said her rate skyrocketed to more than $700.

"This bill is so high," said Karin Ascue, a customer. "We're on a fixed income."

Some thought that by agreeing to switch to another service over the phone, they'd get a lower rate.

"I switched to them over the phone, and they took advantage," said customer Alan Parcells.

The complaints attracted the attention of PURA Commissioner Michael Caron and Joseph Rosenthal of the Office of Consumer Counsel.

"We are very disappointed that this has happened, and we are working with PURA to make sure this doesn't happen again. And we may use more lawmaker enforcement," said Rosenthal.

PURA stressed to consumers that they can protect themselves by reading the fine print.

Still, it was looking into getting people their money back. PURA said customer contracts were being reviewed.

If there were violations, the money will be refunded.

Rosenthal said another avenue they can take would be to call the carrier directly. One customer said he was able to get a $100 refund from his carrier.

PURA's next public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the senior center in Farmington.

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