The Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel reports that the parent company of United Illuminating, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas will pay $4.48 million for not informing customers about payment plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman says UI should have been seeking to assist low-income customers during the unprecedented financial challenges that Covid-19 inflicted upon them, not placing greater pressure on those already overburdened customers and their families. Coleman says Avangrid was fined for the harmful pursuit of wage garnishments and failure to inform some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable customers about the payment plan specifically designed to assist struggling customers during the pandemic.
An investigation also found that Avangrid referred inactive accounts to collection agencies without giving customers adequate notice that their information would be shared.
The majority of the fine will go to Operation Fuel, a nonprofit that helps those struggling with energy bills. Avangrid has until the 19th to request a hearing before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, and until the 14th to file written exceptions to the Proposed Final Decision.