Customers Speak Out about Soaring Electric Rates

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Connecticut

    Upset customers complained about their electric rates at a public hearing in Waterbury Thursday night.

    They signed up with third party supplies then saw their bills skyrocket.

    “In one month it was $855. I was like are you kidding me,” said Jacqueline Sheppard, who was alarmed by that number. It’s one that’s usually in the $200-$300 range. “There's no one there. I have a wood stove. Really? People don't even pay that for rent.”

    Sheppard had signed up for an alternate supplier six months ago, “not knowing that my bill was going to double and do things that they do. They don't tell you all of that.”

    It was an experience several shared Thursday night at public hearing in Waterbury before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or PURA.

    “There have been some eye-popping increases in a lot of these rates but in our hearings we've heard from people who said listen I never looked at the terms,” said Michael Caron, Utility Commissioner.

    The terms and questionable marketing tactics some suppliers use to gain customers have been under scrutiny by the state. In fact, complaints have poured into our Troubleshooters for months.

    “We just went and switched over and we were very happy up until December,” said Suzanne Martin of Madison.

    But that switch to Xoom Energy backfired for Martin when she got this eye-popping number. It was a nearly $1100 bill which was substantially higher than her $450 bill.

    “We were given a great rate and it didn't occur to me that there'd be an end to this,” Martin added.
    NBC Connecticut reached out to Xoom Energy over the phone and by email but didn’t hear back but Martin and others want some answers.

    “All these people come on board to save us money and then they turn around and pull the rug out from under us,” said Martin.

    PURA says it doesn’t know if it’s legally feasible to reimburse customers. But the state says it will question these third party suppliers at a hearing in the coming weeks.