HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The American Association of Retired Persons, AARP, wants to ban third party electric suppliers from providing residential service.

The group said the suppliers overcharge and take advantage of vulnerable customers.

AARP and consumer advocates made their complaints during an event at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Monday.

They said there have been many complaints from the people they represent and some of the companies have already paid hefty fines.

"There are deceptive practices and then there is navigating over and over this market," said John Erlingheuser, AARP Connecticut.

AARP calls third party suppliers a failed experiment. It wants legislators to ban them from providing residential service.

Third party suppliers entered the market when Eversource got out of the generation business.

The state's consumer counsel said the suppliers rely on predatory sales tactics and instead of saving people money, Connecticut customers have ended up paying $200 million more.

"There is too much money is this market, there are too many players, the marketing is too aggressive," said Elin Swanson Katz, consumer counsel.

Bob Rodman of Avon told Channel 3 that his bills are confusing and cheaper rates don't last long.

"It sounds good without thinking about what the price is going to end up and the fact you have to follow it," Rodman said.

Massachusetts may get rid of them.

"It's unfair for consumers in Connecticut and Massachusetts, especially those can't afford it, to be the targets of something that doesn't work and can't work," said Nathan Foster, MA attorney general's office.

Chris Kallaher is from Direct Energy, a third party supplier appealing a $1.5 million penalty.

He said there may be some bad players, but he has a solution. He recommended allowing third party suppliers to send separate bills.

"One response is to have our company send a separate bill, a bill with all the charges, because we can make it much less confusing to the customer," Kallaher said.

He said Texas allows separate bills, as do some European companies.

The bill being proposed in Connecticut, however, would do away with third party suppliers all together.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

Truthseeker

This all started in the 90's when deregulation was pushed down our throats (by both politicians who were paid off and the power companies. We were told we could buy our power on line at the click of a mouse button. But what we got was 3 month delays in changes and lies of how much we could save. Once you signed up, the rate went up and was near impossible to change back. All because of corrupt politicians taking money and not looking out for the good of the country. Sound familiar with what you're seeing today? Demand all politicians give back all the 'blood money'.

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