Conn. lawmakers send electric consumer protection bill to governor

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The Connecticut state bill on consumer protection has passed both the state House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor to be signed into law. The bill seeks to address complaints about spiking prices, deceptive practices and lack of disclosure about rates and contract terms in Connecticut’s electric supplier market.

Written by: Kelly Andrejasich

A bill on its way to Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy will increase consumer protections and make sure consumers have the right information to make decisions about offers from competitive electric suppliers, the governor said May 5.

“I am committed to making certain that all of our residents have access to cheaper, cleaner and more reliable power,” he said in a statement. “A key starting point for this is providing clarity and certainty for electric customers when they select an offer from a supplier. This bill will help provide just that.”

Malloy and other state officials unveiled the proposal in April as a response to complaints from consumers about price spikes, deceptive practices and lack of disclosure about rate and contract terms in the competitive electric supplier market. The Senate passed the bill April 29, and the House of Representatives did the same May 5.

Among other requirements, the bill, a substitute to S.B. 2, gives the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority until July 1, 2015, to redesign the standard billing format for residential electric customers. The new format will show information, including the standard offer rate charged by local distribution utilities Connecticut Light and Power Co. and United Illuminating Co., the rate billed by the retail supplier, any rate changes in the next billing cycle, and applicable cancellation fees.

Another part of the bill prohibits suppliers from raising rates for the first three billing cycles of new contracts entered as of July 1, 2014. The bill also requires electric suppliers to notify residential customers in advance of certain rate changes and prohibits them from charging cancellation or early termination fees to residents who move within the state and do not change suppliers.

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