Regulator Says Retail Plan Whose Terms Indicate Monthly-Charged Fee May Change In Future Is A Variable Product, Prohibited By Law
March 14, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Connecticut PURA has issued a further directive to Public Power concerning the company's Monthly Fee Capacity Plan (MFCP), stating that revised terms and conditions, which indicate that the amount of a monthly fee could change, render the product a variable rate plan which is prohibited by law.
As exclusively reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, PURA had previously issued certain directives concerning the Monthly Fee Capacity Plan, which charges a fee each month as a form of enrollment fee (rather than charging the enrollment in a single one-time upfront sum). PURA had directed that Public Power make clear to the customer how the fee will be charged, and (based on how the product existed at such time) that the customer be made aware that they will continue to be responsible for the entire set amount of the fee even if the customer ceases service. As part of its response to this directive, Public Power revised the plan and said that the monthly fee will solely be charged while the customer has indicated an intent to receive, or is receiving, the product
PURA noted that, in a filing including revised terms and conditions for the product submitted by Public Power, "Public’s response included Additional Terms & Conditions For Select Plans, which states that the Company reserves the right to increase the Monthly Fee by up to 100% of the then current Monthly Fee by providing the customer with at least 30 days’ notice, and sets no limits on the number of times throughout the contract term the Company may increase the Monthly Fee. This document also states that the Company reserves the right to increase the Monthly Fee if the customer’s monthly usage changes by more than 20%."
PURA said that, "PURA’s Interim Decision dated September 30, 2015 in Docket No. 15-06-15, PURA Variable Electric Rate Study (Decision) provided guidance regarding the implementation of the General Statutes of Connecticut §16-245o(g)(4), which banned residential variable supply offers. The Interim Decision states: 'The Act’s Section 1 ban is plain and unambiguous: No electric supplier is permitted to enter into a new residential contract which contains variable pricing or automatically renews a residential customer to a contract containing variable pricing on or after October 1, 2015.'"
PURA said that, "Public’s MFCP offer contains variable pricing and as a result does not comply with the Authority’s Decision. Public may correct this deficiency and refile its MFCP. Upon approval by the Authority this offer may be marketed to consumers and posted to the Rate Board."
"Public must send the Authority its updated Contract and Terms and Conditions reflecting the above directives on or before March 20, 2019. Specifically, the revised documents must indicate that that [sic] the monthly fee is fixed for the contract term. Public must also provide the information that was provided to its current MFCP customers and explain how it will again contact customers to correct the revised terms," PURA directed
Public Power provided the following statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com: "Public Power has received PURA’s latest directive and appreciates the additional guidance. Public Power’s intent was never to market variable rate products to Connecticut customers and is in the process of responding to the Authority’s new directive."