Misleading CT energy bills? Read this:

March 20, 2018


(Have you checked your Eversource or UI bills?  Read the story below and email me your thoughts at [email protected] – thanks!)

State Considers Changing Electric Rate Billing Requirements 

Hartford Courant

State regulators are planning to order changes in the way Connecticut energy companies bill consumers in response to complaints that Eversource and United Illuminating customers were getting misleading information about their upcoming electricity rates.

But Sen. Len Suzio of Meriden, whose complaints triggered the state review of the issue, angrily rejected the response by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority as totally inadequate.

He is asking the agency to reconsider its proposed decision.

PURA is a toothless tiger willing to leave consumers in the dark about critical rate information,” Suzio said Monday.

In a letter to the utility regulators, Suzio said the draft decision “goes against the best interests of consumers” and “potentially leaves thousands of customers with no information about their next rate.”

Suzio filed a complaint with PURA last month after discovering that his Eversource electricity bills included erroneous information about what his next month’s electricity rate would be.

He said the difference over four months between what his bill said the upcoming month’s rate would be and what it actually turned out to be amounted to an additional $110 that he was required to pay.

A spokesman for Eversource said in February that the utility has been simply including on its bills the information on the rate that energy suppliers sent, and that it was not Eversource’s responsibility to insure that the information on upcoming rates was correct. “We support any state action to ensure customers receive clear and accurate information from their third-party supplier,” said Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross.

Gross said Monday his company is still reviewing the new PURA proposed ruling.

PURA’s draft decision noted that the state had required utilities in 2015 to redesign their residential bills to include information on the “generation rate effective for the customer’s next billing cycle.”

But utilities simply put on customers’ bills the last “Next Rate” provided by energy suppliers “whether or not it was current,” according to the draft decision.

PURA officials agreed with Suzio that the practice “resulted in customers sometimes receiving inaccurate and potentially misleading information” about upcoming rates.

Under the proposed ruling, electricity distribution companies like Eversource and UI would no longer be able to use the last rate provided by energy suppliers for the next cycle’s generation rate.

The state Office of Consumer Counsel urged state regulators to require Eversource and UI to include the comment “Not Provided” on a consumer’s bill if it doesn’t receive accurate and up-to-date information from energy suppliers about a customer’s rate for the next billing cycle. In their draft ruling, PURA officials agreed. If the ruling receives final approval, it would take effect in June of this year.

Lauren Bidra, a staff attorney with the consumer counsel’s office, said Monday her agency is still working on its response to the proposed PURA decision.

“OCC plans to file a response to PURA’s draft decision by the deadline of March 23,” Bidra said in an email. “We are hopeful that a resolution that fully addresses this important consumer issue can be reached.”

Suzio said simply not providing any information about upcoming electricity rates would leave customers “in the dark.”

Suzio insisted in his letter to PURA that the correct rate information is available to electricity distributors like Eversource and UI, and called any move that doesn’t force utilities to provide consumers with accurate rate data “completely intolerable.”

He said that, if PURA gives final approval to its ruling on this issue, it should also force utilities to include a warning on all electricity bills that, “Information related to your current rate contained in this billing may be unreliable …”