Regulator Denies Utility's Proposal To Streamline Process For Hardship Customers To Opt Into Electric Choice
December 5, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Connecticut PURA directed Connecticut Light & Power (Eversource) to cease implementation of CL&P's plan to streamline the process for hardship customers to opt into electric choice, which requires that such customers forfeit their hardship status
All hardship customers in Connecticut are required to be served under default service. Customers may elect to forfeit their hardship status in order to choose a competitive retail electric supplier, and, under the current process, such status change must be made via written form
PURA said in a letter to CL&P that, "Clear and accurate communication with customers, especially hardship customers, is essential. It is even more critical when the Company is permitting a hardship customer to opt out of Hardship Account Status and all of the protections that the designation affords the customer."
"Accordingly, the Authority finds that verbal consent is not sufficient when a customer is agreeing to opt out of Hardship Account Status in order to enroll with an electric supplier. When a customer is relinquishing its Hardship Account Status, the Company must provide in writing a clear and comprehensive set of implications of relinquishing such status (e.g., a list of programs and their benefits for which such customers will no longer be eligible) and obtain a customer’s consent in writing to ensure the customer is making the decision fully informed," PURA said
PURA said that it will allow both Eversource and UI to make changes to the existing Consent Form Process, "so long as the revised process ensures that customers are provided with the implications of relinquishing their hardship status in writing and that written consent to waive such status is still required."
"Any changes to the Consent Form Process shall be made uniformly by both Eversource and UI and shall be detailed in a compliance filing submitted in the above-referenced dockets [18-06-02RE01; 22-05-01] within one (1) business day of any changes taking effect," PURA said