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Attorney General William Tong


AG Tong Announces Restitution for 559 Consumers Targeted by Illegal Spark Energy Robocalls

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull announced that they have agreed to a settlement that would provide for full restitution for at least 559 residential electric consumers who enrolled in overpriced contracts with Spark Energy as a result of an illegal robocall campaign.

“Spark Energy used illegal robocalls to trick consumers into overpaying for electricity. All overpayments they reaped from that reprehensible campaign must now be rightfully returned to consumers. This restitution, on top of the significant fine already levied by PURA, should send a strong message to any third-party suppliers that Connecticut stands ready to aggressively enforce its consumer protection laws in defense of ratepayers,” said Attorney General Tong.

"Overpayment schemes are even more damaging when consumers overpay for basic goods and services - like electricity. Deceptive practices like these are against the law in the State of Connecticut, and I am grateful to have worked with PURA and the Office of the Attorney General on this matter," said Consumer Protection Commissioner Seagull.

“PURA applauds Attorney General Tong and Commissioner Seagull on this important settlement. Connecticut customers deserve nothing less than honest and fair sales and service from third party electric suppliers. PURA remains committed to holding these companies to the highest standards and reminds ratepayers to practice vigilance when participating in the third-party electric supplier market,” said PURA Chairman Marissa Gillett.

Between January 1, 2016 and June 20, 2017, a state investigation found Spark subcontractors placed over 150,000 robocalls to Connecticut consumers, misstating the electric utility’s standard service rates and hiding their connection to the third-party electric supplier in violation of state law. As a result of those calls, at least 559 consumers enrolled in Spark Energy contracts. Those consumers paid approximately $15,000 more than they would have paid had they remained on their respective electric utility’s standard service rates.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority previously fined Spark $500,000 over the illegal robocalls. PURA also referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection for further investigation into potential violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

As a result of that investigation, Spark Energy has agreed to full restitution for all impacted consumers. Those consumers will receive an automatic credit on their Eversource or United Illuminating bill for the full amounts paid above the utility standard service rate, as well as any relevant cancellation fees.

The settlement was filed Friday in Hartford Superior Court, and will not become final unless and until it is approved by the court.

Assistant Attorneys General Lauren Bidra, John Wright and Consumer Protection Department Head Michael Wertheimer are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.

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