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Deregulated Electricity Market
Fri April 18, 2014
Regulators Say Electric Suppliers Must Improve Disclosure
Utility regulators say independent electric suppliers in the state should be required to give consumers a clear disclosure about how much they're paying for power.
That's just one of the recommendations in response to a storm of complaints about independent suppliers. A recent survey by Connecticut's consumer counsel found that rates charged by many independent suppliers in the state soared way above the regulated utilities this winter, meaning consumers who bought power through these companies were collectively being overcharged by more than $13 million a month.
The draft decision just issued by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is an attempt to address those issues. PURA said independent suppliers should be required to mail out a disclosure to their customers by the end of next month. It should give the time remaining on the contract, the rate that is in effect, with the dates of any planned changes. It should also detail if there's an early termination fee.
The decision also proposes that the companies should have to mail out another disclosure when the customer's contract ends, showing the rate they'll be charged at that point.
The proposals now go out for public comment before a final vote by the authority.
PURA's response comes as the legislature considers a bill that would also increase scrutiny of independent suppliers. The bill, introduced by the consumer counsel and Connecticut's Attorney General would require price comparisons on all electric bills, and would allow customers to switch suppliers more quickly.