Consumer Protections For Electricity
Consumer protection regulations exist to protect both customers and sellers against unfair market practices. In Connecticut the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority(PURA) has been working to oversee private third party electricity suppliers to help keep electric costs low for residents.
Third Party Electricity Providers in CT
In 1998, the state legislature passed laws that allowed private, investor owned companies to sell electricity to residents. Customers would have more options besides their local utility company. They could actually choose their electric provider to lower their monthly costs.
However, many of these third party competitive companies resorted to deceptive practices. And their customers ended up paying more for expensive services over time. These practices included:
- targeting low-income households, promising low electricity costs for an intial period of time, but then implementing much higher electricity costs afterwards
- applying variable, versus flat rates on monthly bills with unpredictable and ongoing cost increases
- charging cancellation fees
With Connecticut already an expensive state for energy costs, these practices required stronger regulation and strict oversight.
Connecticut’s Consumer Protection Laws Ensure Reasonable Electricity Costs
PURA passed new rules to prevent third party competitive suppliers from charging their customers excessively.
- banning variable electricity rates
- preventing low-income, “hardship utility” customers from switching to third party electricity companies
Also Governor Lamont signed legislation against the practice of charging cancellation fees once a customer decides to end their contract with a third party electricity provider.
Learn more about PURA’s involvement in Connecticut’s consumer protection efforts for electricity customers.