DPUC Issues Notice of Violation to Starion, Intends to Assess $70,000 Fine Email This
Story November 8, 2010
The Connecticut DPUC issued a Notice of Violation and Assessment of Civil Penalty
against Starion Energy for what the Department said were violations of Connecticut
General Statutes §§ 16-245o(e), 16-245o(h), and 16-245(g)(2), relating to, among
other things, authorization for customer switches and notice of the rescission period.
Starion Energy has the right to a hearing to contest the findings contained in the
notice prior to entry of a final order (09-10-10RE01).
The Department is seeking a total civil penalty of $70,160 for the violations. The
Department noted that there has been a substantial decline in the number of Starion
complaints filed after its investigation was initiated, but said that the, "violations
documented in this proceeding are serious and compel close monitoring of Starion's
performance going forward."
The Notice lists two specific incidents, cited in customer complaints, in which the
DPUC said that Starion admitted to the Department that it did not have the proper
consent needed to switch those customers. For each of these failures to comply with
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(e), which requires confirmation of each customer's desire
to be switched, Starion would be fined $1,000 (for a total of $2,000).
In addition, the DPUC found that for 21 enrollments conducted by telephone, Starion
did not use a verification process which conformed to the independence requirements
set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(e). The DPUC would fine Starion $1,000 for
each of these enrollments ($21,000 in aggregate).
The DPUC also said that the evidence shows that 4,716 small volume customers that
Starion enrolled via paper enrollment form were not notified of the right of rescission
per Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245o(e) in either the enrollment form or in Starion's then-applicable
disclosure label, nor in an enrollment welcome letter. Starion has not provided
any evidence showing that it provided these customers notice of their right to cancel
an enrollment, the DPUC said.
Starion would be fined $10 for each instance when it failed to inform the customer
of the rescission period, or $47,160 total.
The DPUC also cited two complaints from customers who did not enroll with Starion
in which the DPUC said that Starion agents provided, "misleading statements regarding
the status of a competing electric supplier, PP&U, as a pretext to gain the customers'
service." Specifically, a potential customer alleged that the agent said that Public
Power & Utility had changed its name to Starion, and another potential customer alleged
that the agent described Starion as the "mother company of PP&U"
Per Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245u(b)(5), the Department is referring these two complaints
to the Attorney General.