Ratepayer Assistance

June 29, 2015

State Representative Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) joined Consumer Counsel Commissioner Elin Swanson Katz to announce Eversource and United Illuminating are revamping their bills in a two-phase redesign initiative. The changes are part of legislation sponsored by Rep. Reed, Attorney General George Jepsen and Commissioner Katz. The legislation, passed in 2014, is designed to help customers compare pricing and contract terms among electric suppliers.

“The bill design sets a new standard for protecting electric consumers by providing compare and contrast tools that are easy to use and will be constantly updated going forward,” said Rep. Reed. “The bill was generated by consumer complaints which fortunately have begun falling off since our work on the issue.”

As a state with an open energy supplier market, Connecticut residents have the option to choose third-party electric suppliers, which offer rates with different terms. The new utility bills feature more detailed supplier information for greater transparency and flexibility for customers of independent power suppliers.

In the first phase, customers will see a direct comparison of their current price, if they are using a competitive electric supplier, with the standard offer price available from Eversource or UI, and a summary showing the savings or the additional amount they paid.

In the second phase, which will be rolled out in electric bills starting on January 1, 2016, the bills will also include the next month’s rate, so that consumers can review the rate weeks before that rate becomes effective.

Phase one bill redesign changes, which take effect on July 1, 2015, include adding the following information on the first page of monthly statements (and consumers who pay online are reminded to click “view bill” for the full information):

  • The name and address of the customer’s current supplier and rate;
  • The current Eversource/UI Standard Service rate, and the terms and expiration date of that rate;
  • The dollar amount the customer would have been billed if the customer were on the Eversource/UI Standard Service rate and not with a third-party supplier;
  • Information on how to switch back to Eversource or UI as the power supplier; and
  • A link to Energize Connecticut (www.energizect.com/compare-energy-suppliers), the state’s official rate board, which shows current energy supplier pricing.

Phase two of the bill redesign, taking effect in January 2016, will provide this additional information:

  • The fixed or variable terms of a customer’s third-party supply rate, and the expiration month of that rate;
  • Any changes to a customer’s third-party supply rate that becomes effective in the next billing cycle; and
  • Any applicable cancellation fee charged to customers by the third-party supplier for early termination of their contract.

In addition to reviewing their usage and the total amount of the bill, the utility companies encourage customers to regularly review rates and pricing information to make sure they are aware of any changes to their current rates or terms.

There is no fee for Eversource or UI customers to return to the Standard Service supply rate.