Regulator Sets Deadline For Retail Suppliers To Participate In Amnesty Program
Amnesty Program Allows Suppliers To Voluntarily Offer Refunds, Avoid Civil Penalties
January 28, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Connecticut PURA has established a deadline by which retail suppliers must elect to participate in an amnesty program concerning non-compliance with the supplier summary rate information requirements
The General Statutes of Connecticut (Conn. Gen. Stat.) §16-245d(2) requires Licensed Electric Suppliers (Suppliers) to provide to the electric distribution companies (EDCs) certain information to appear in the billing summary portion of a customer’s bill, including but not limited to the next cycle rate. By Decision dated August 12, 2015, in Docket No. 14-07-19RE01, PURA Investigation into Redesign of the Residential Electric Billing Format - Billing Format Clarifications, the Authority determined that the next cycle rate must be displayed on the bill before the rate is incurred by the customer. As a result, the next cycle rate on a customer’s bill would display the rate to be billed two billing cycles from the present billing cycle.
"Upon complaint and multiple subsequent investigations, the Authority has information suggesting that several suppliers have not met their requirement of providing the up-to-date next cycle rates to the EDCs in a timely manner and that customers have been overbilled at rates which are higher than the last amount displayed as their next cycle rate," PURA said
As a result, the Authority initiated Docket No. 18-12-22 to provide amnesty from civil penalties under Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-41 to any suppliers who voluntarily elect to self-report next cycle rate violations up to the date of this Notice of Proceeding (Jan. 28) and provide appropriate refunds to any affected customers. The Authority will provide a time-limited 'amnesty' period for such Suppliers and refrain from initiating proceedings to investigate and then levy civil penalties against them for next-cycle rate violations so long as Suppliers are forthcoming with information and customers are fully reimbursed, as determined in a final decision in Docket No. 18-12-22.
On or before February 11, 2019, Suppliers must notify the Authority regarding whether or not they will participate in the amnesty program in Docket 18-12-22.
Any Suppliers seeking to participate in this amnesty program must voluntarily submit a filing on or before March 31, 2019 that: a) self-reports all past next cycle rate violations up to January 28, 2019 and b) proposes a plan to provide refunds to affected customers.
The voluntary self-reporting shall include the following information: 1) identification of each incident for all months in which the next cycle rate for a customer was not provided or accurately updated; 2) identification of the customers overbilled by inaccurate or untimely provision of the next cycle rate to the EDCs; and 3) the amount each customer was overbilled.
The Supplier’s proposed plan to reimburse customers for all overbilling must provide for: 1) reimbursement of impacted customers on or before May 31, 2019; and 2) a plan to provide amounts for any unclaimed refunds to the State of Connecticut, in accordance with Connecticut’s abandoned property laws. As described in more detail below, a Supplier may submit some of this information contained in this filing under seal along with a motion requesting protected treatment of information.
"For any Supplier electing not to voluntarily participate in this amnesty program, the Authority will continue its investigation and/or initiate an investigation, and will prosecute all violations it finds to the fullest extent possible, by issuing Notices of Violation and Civil Penalty, as it deems appropriate,' PURA said
Any docket currently open to investigate a Supplier for next cycle rate violations will be suspended, to allow such Supplier time to elect whether or not to participate in this docket.
The Authority intends to review any self-reporting submitted by Suppliers and to review and approve, approve with modifications, or reject any proposed plans to refund overbilled customers. The Authority may issue interrogatories, request written comments, and conduct a hearing, as appropriate.