Regulator Issues Notice Of Violation That Would Require Retail Supplier To Provide Restitution To Customers Dropped To Default Service Who Were Paying Rates Lower Than SOS
February 10, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Connecticut PURA formally issued a Notice of Violation and Assessment of Civil Penalty (NOV) against Sunwave Gas & Power Connecticut Inc. (Sunwave or Company) which would order Sunwave to pay restitution to all customers returned to standard service whose contracts were for rates less than standard service and which would suspend Sunwave’s license for five years pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245(k).
Sunwave may request a hearing on the NOV. The NOV does not constitute final agency action
Among other things, the NOV states, "The Authority has reason to believe that Sunwave violated Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245 by not maintaining membership in ISO-NE and by continuing to maintain offers on energizect.com after its ISO-NE suspension."
The NOV would require that, on or before March 15, 2022, Sunwave is required to reimburse customers that the EDCs returned to standard service who were being served by Sunwave on contracts with rates lower than the current standard service rate in the applicable service territory an amount equal to $20 per month for the remainder of the contract term for residential customers, and $40 per month for the remainder of the contract term for business customers.
The NOV would provide that such reimbursement shall be made in the form of a bill credit coordinated with each EDC and Sunwave shall reimburse the EDCs any costs associated with the bill credit.
The NOV states, "Sunwave’s suspension by ISO-NE and its failure to provide its customers proper notice of their return to standard service has and will harm many of Sunwave’s customers. A review of the most recent price filings submitted in Docket No. 06-10-22 shows that in The Connecticut Light and Power Company d/b/a Eversource Energy (Eversource) territory, 2309 of 2315 Sunwave residential customers were contracted at rates less than standard service, many over four cents less. Of the 581 Eversource business customers contracted with Sunwave, 369 were paying less than standard service. The same can be found in The United Illuminating Company (UI) territory: of 607 residential customers, 518 were being served by rates less than standard service; and of 314 business customers, 226 were being served by rates less than standard service. Sunwave’s abrupt exit from the market, failure to meet its licensing requirements, and failure to properly notify customers will cause these customers substantial monetary harm. Many of Sunwave’s rates ranged between 7 and 9 cents per kWh. A review of energizect.com shows that suppliers currently are not offering rates in that price range. Without sufficient notice or the ability to find a comparable rate, customers will suffer financial harm."
"Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-41(a), the Authority may order restitution in addition to other penalties. As noted, Sunwave’s customers will be financially harmed by Sunwave’s actions. The appropriate restitution to customers would be for Sunwave to pay customers the precise difference between what they would have paid under their contracts with Sunwave and what they now pay as the standard service rate, however, many of these contracts may extend for months or even years. Given the questions surrounding Sunwave’s current standing with ISO-NE and its ability to continue to participate in markets, either continuing to calculate or waiting to calculate such precise restitution might fail to provide the appropriate relief needed," the NOV states
The NOV would also suspend Sunwave’s electric supplier license for five years