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Buck-Taylor Supports Protections for Retail Energy Customers

May 10, 2014

HARTFORD — State Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor today supported legislation that offers protections for customers who purchase electricity from retail suppliers rather than the two major transmission companies. The proposal is a response to residents with variable rate contracts from third party providers—customers who said they had no idea that their rate had changed until they saw dramatic increases to mid and late-winter electric bills.

Under the legislation, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) must impose a new billing format by July 1, 2015 that will clearly show the retail supplier’s rate compared to the standard rate offered by Connecticut Light & Power or United Illuminating. The new billing format must also include the length of the contract, any scheduled rate change in the next billing cycle, and information about contract cancellation fees.

“This proposal, a sort of consumer’s ‘bill of rights,’ will put ratepayers in an even better position to make informed decisions as they seek to reduce their monthly electricity bills,” Buck-Taylor said.

The legislation, previously approved in the state senate, passed through the House by a 145-0 vote.

Buck-Taylor and lawmakers expressed concern about “bad actors” in the retail energy market—companies that use deceitful or predatory marketing, such as offering enticing teaser rates that expire quickly.

Other customer-friendly aspects of the bill include a prohibition on suppliers increasing rates within the first three billing cycles on new contracts after July 1, 2014. Retail electric suppliers must also notify residential customers before rate hikes, and they can’t charge cancellation or early termination fees to customers who move within the state and don’t change suppliers.

The legislation awaits Gov. Dannel Malloy’s signature.