Customers Begin Receiving Refunds As Part Of $10 Million Settlement With Retail Supplier
March 5, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that customers of competitive retail electric supplier Starion Energy, Inc. (Starion) are beginning to receive restitution payments as part of a previously reported $10 million settlement reached with the AG’s Office over allegations that Starion used unfair and deceptive sales tactics
The settlement, which the AG's office said returns $7.25 million to impacted customers, is the largest reached by AG Healey’s Office and a competitive electric supplier.
Starion Energy provided the following statement concerning the matter:
"Today, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that customers would be receiving restitution payments in accordance with the Final Judgment by Consent. Starion is pleased to announce that it funded all of its restitution obligations under the Final Judgment by Consent earlier than was required. Starion was able to do so based upon the financial health of the company and its ability to offer new and innovative electric products to its customers, including Green Energy options. Starion continues to offer these is new products to Massachusetts’ consumers and is looking forward to our continued growth, not only in Massachusetts, but in all of the markets it serves."
--- Statement from Starion Energy
AG Healey alleged, "This company falsely promised thousands of Massachusetts customers big savings on their electricity bills, but instead overcharged them by tens of millions of dollars"
"We’re glad to be returning more than $7 million to customers harmed by Starion’s deceptive tactics. We’ve seen this happen over and over with these companies, and we’re working to stop them from preying on our residents," AG Healey alleged
The AG's office alleged, "The payments are part of a consent judgment the AG’s Office entered into in August 2020 with the company and two of its executives to settle the AG’s October 2018 lawsuit that alleged that Starion violated the state’s consumer protection laws by engaging in unfair sales tactics, including unsolicited telemarketing calls and pre-recorded robocalls that falsely promised customers lower electricity rates. According to the AG’s Office, Starion collectively charged more than 117,000 Massachusetts customers millions more on their bills than they would have paid if they stayed with their utility company."
Customers who are eligible to receive restitution will be mailed a check and will not need to fill out a claim form. Customers are eligible to receive restitution if they:
• Purchased variable rate electricity service from Starion;
• Paid more than they would have paid their utility for basic service electricity; and
• Did not separately seek restitution through Starion’s Delaware bankruptcy proceeding.
Customers in the first phase should expect to receive a check by the end of March. Eligible customers who do not receive restitution during the first phrase of the program will receive restitution in a subsequent phase in 2022.
In addition to the $7.25 million going back to customers through the restitution program, the company is required to pay $250,000 in penalties that will go to the state’s general fund. Of the remaining $2.5 million in the $10 million settlement, $2 million will be forgiven if Starion complies with the terms of the consent judgment. As part of the settlement, Starion also contributed $500,000 to the AG’s Natural Gas Fuel Assistance Grant fund. The settlement also requires the company to ensure for three years that the amounts that low-income customers pay for electricity do not exceed what they would have paid if they received basic service through their utility company.