Class action lawsuits filed against four energy suppliers in Connecticut

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WEST HARTFORD – A law firm has filed class action lawsuits against four electric suppliers for deceptive practices.

The four companies accused of over-charging customers are Direct Energy, North American Power and Gas, Viridian Energy, and Discount Power.

The filing attorney, Robert Izard, of Izard Nobel, said the companies claim in their contracts that their variable rates go up and down with the wholesale price of electricity.  But the lawsuits allege that the rates per kilowatt hour actually stay high when wholesale prices go down.

Izard argued state paperwork shows that rates can be as high as five times the wholesale price.

Consumers have a choice of which company supplies the power in their homes. Many choose to stay with CL&P.  Others were lured by the promise of lower rates and have switched suppliers. The suppliers act as a broker, buying and reselling the energy at a higher price. Izard claimed customers sign up with certain electric suppliers when the original fixed rate is good.

“What you often get is a ‘teaser rate,’ it will last for three, four, five months,” Izard said.  “And then when that teaser rate expires, it automatically shifts to a variable rate and that’s when people are seeing the big price jumps.”

Fox CT reached out to the companies being sued for comment, but only North American Power provided a statement that the lawsuit is absolutely without merit and that the company provides written notices to customers when their fixed rates are becoming variable rates.

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6 comments

  • Russell Maher

    Department of Consumer Protection doesn’t exist in CT? Reports of customers being overcharged have been circulating for months and no investigation has been initiated.
    My phone rings every evening with these people offering to save me money on my electric bill and I’m thankful to not have fallen for their sales pitch.

    • Darrell Poirier

      I think the real problem is CL&PURA. PURA appears to be there more for CL&P/Notheast Utilities than the citizens of CT. It seems NorthEast utilities let the electric supply delivery system fall apart over profits and then they go to PURA to say we have to need higher rates to fix the system. All the while using the funds to work taking over power delivery for all of New England and then what’s next the whole east coast? We need competition on the electric delivery system.

  • JZ

    “The firm claims that when rates have gone down, the companies have not passed those savings along to computer and have even risen.”

    What does that mean?

  • Seth

    My 87 tear old mother-in law was victimized by these companies. I was also a victim of Discount Power. My electric rate soared from 6 cents a kilowatt hour to.15 centsin one month during the coldest months in 2013. The rate ballooned to a whopping .21 cents by the following month. A 250% increase during the coldest months. I contacted PURA (public utility rate authority ). to file a complaint. They got 0.00 for me. I was able to negotiate on 28.00 refund on my own though I declined discount power’s offer. I have contacted PURA to get a copy of the complaint they filed on my behalf. They cannot provide one . They said their complaint was filed as an email, not a registered letter. I was told they just licence the suppliers, but have no authority over any one other than Eversource or UI. Our legislators in the state of Connecticut sold us out one more time.