Attorney General Tong, DCP, OCC Announce $400 Settlement With Town Square Energy Over Improper Marketing(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong, Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, Acting Consumer Counsel Richard Sobolewski, and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority’s Office of Education Outreach and Enforcement today announced a $400,000 settlement with third-party electric supplier Town Square Energy, resolving claims that the company’s marketing tactics violated state consumer protection laws. The settlement resolves allegations Town Square mispresented the standard service rate, enrolled customers without their consent, deployed agents who wrongly represented themselves to be utility employees, solicited their services door-to-door at public housing locations in violation of “no trespassing” signs, and refused to provide information in Spanish when requested.
Between January 2019 and October 2020, Town Square charged consumers approximately $2 million more than the standard service rate. They averaged approximately 29,000 customers a month during that time period.
Town Square has agreed to pay a $400,000 contribution, to be directed to Operation Fuel. Town Square has further agreed to cease all in person marketing, including, but not limited to, door-to-door and tabletop sales, for a period of 15 months.
“Town Square Energy deployed deceptive marketing tactics to lure people into overpaying for their energy. This penalty will go directly to Operation Fuel to help families in need with their utility bills. We are watching this market closely and will aggressively enforce our consumer protection laws against any third-party supplier seeking to deceive Connecticut ratepayers,” said Attorney General Tong. “This settlement is an important reminder that third-party suppliers are almost always a bad deal for the consumer. If you get an offer that sounds too good to be true, do not commit without reading the fine print and making absolutely certain it is indeed better than the standard service rates offered by Eversource and United Illuminating. No one can afford to overpay for energy right now.”
“This is another important reminder to consumers that they should always do their research and never enter into a contract they don’t feel comfortable with when someone offers a deal that seems too good to be true,” said Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “This is just another way companies may try to take advantage of consumers.”
"Today's settlement addresses deceptive marketing tactics that are unfortunately still endemic in Connecticut's third-party electric supply market. Consumers should remain vigilant and cautious whenever they receive a sales pitch for a new rate on their utility bills. Too many Connecticut consumers are overpaying for basic electric service due to third-party suppliers at a time when consumers can least afford it," said Andrew W. Minikowski, Staff Attorney for the Office of Consumer Counsel. "Consumers who wish to safely participate in the third-party supply market should do so by visiting the EnergizeCT rate board website."
Assistant Attorneys General Lauren Bidra, John Wright, and Michael Wertheimer, Deputy Associate Attorney General & Chief of the Consumer Protection Section assisted the Attorney General in this matter.