State budget includes recalculation refund bill - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

State budget includes recalculation refund bill

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It was a tough winter for many homeowners as high energy costs soared. Some people decided to switch suppliers to try and get a better deal. But, they were in disbelief when they were hit with retroactive fees that they weren't notified about beforehand.

"It sounds unfair based on the fact that it wasn't explained ahead of time. And lots of people made a switch thinking that they were saving money and it ended up the opposite. They were being charged a lot more it," said Chris O'Connell from Easthampton. 

It's a 15-year-old rule that was overturned on April 13th.

The provision, that would require utility companies to refund the fees, is included in the 2016 state budget.

"The Department of Public Utilities shall require each electric distribution company to refund or give credits to customers impacted by the bill recalculation provision between November 1, 2014 and April 13, 2015," the amendment says in part.

The goal of the original rule was to prevent customers from constantly switching from service provided by utility companies to competitive suppliers.

"Some woman was charged $400. We thought it was wrong. It was an old woman who couldn't afford it," said Ron Lane from West Springfield. "They're taking advantage of people like that."

Sen. Don Humason has been pushing the state to refund electric customers.

"After the successful rescinding of the old Department of Public Utilities rule from 2000 that required these retroactive charges, this was the next logical step to remedy the situation and provide much needed relief to customers across the commonwealth," Humason said. 

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