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Eversource will pay $1.8 million to resolve allegations of misleading marketing

Flared natural gas is burned off at a natural gas plant. Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, can leak from natural gas plants and pipelines.
Spencer Platt
/
Getty Images
Flared natural gas is burned off at a natural gas plant.

Attorney General William Tong said Tuesday that Eversource has reached a settlement agreement tied to its marketing of natural gas.

The settlement addresses alleged violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Tong alleged the utility used false and high-pressure tactics to get people to switch to natural gas by telling customers that once their roads were resurfaced, local “paving moratoriums” would prevent them from being able to get natural gas hookups in the future.

The Office of the Attorney General says it identified multiple towns where no such paving moratoriums existed. The state began looking into the matter after an article by Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie.

“Eversource misled homeowners to get them to switch to natural gas. These high-pressure tactics are unacceptable coming from any business, much less a regulated utility,” Tong said in a statement.

As a result of the settlement, Eversource must pay $1.6 million to Operation Fuel to assist low-income ratepayers. The utility must also pay $200,000 to the attorney general for the purposes of consumer education and enforcement.

In a statement, Eversource says it's pleased to resolve the allegations and provide a way to help customers struggling with their bills.

Gregory B. Butler, who is an executive with Eversource Energy, is a member of Connecticut Public's Board of Trustees.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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