PURA: Customer Rights & Responsibilities

Your Utility Service Rights and Responsibilities
How We Can Help
 
How to File a Complaint
Staff of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) Consumer Services Unit has been trained to assist you in resolving the various types of problems you may experience with a utility company. The most common complaints we receive involve termination and reconnection of service, service installation and line extensions, high bills, quality of service, meter tests, reasonable payment arrangements, outages, deposits, incorrect rates or tariffs, and unauthorized switching of utility service from one provider to another.
 
If you experience a problem with a utility company, please contact the utility company first and give it an opportunity to resolve your problem. If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, please call or write to us at the PURA.  How to file a complaint.
 
Termination of Utility Service
Utility companies may shut off service if you do not pay your bills, fail to keep a payment plan, or tamper with your meter. State law requires that you be given thirteen days' notice before the shutoff can occur. The notice must be in writing and include the date that service will be shut off and what you must do to get service turned back on.

If you are a residential customer, your service cannot be shut off on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Legal Holiday, the day before a Legal Holiday, or less than an hour before the company's offices close for the day.

If the company determines that a dangerous condition exists, service may be terminated at any time and without prior notice to you.
 
Medical Emergencies 
Connecticut state law mandates that no electric or gas company shall terminate or refuse to reinstate residential electric or gas service where the customer lacks the financial resources to pay his or her entire account and for which customer or member of a customer's household the termination or failure to reinstate service would create a life-threatening situation. Please contact your utility company, or the PURA, for more details or with questions about this law.
 
Winter Moratorium - Hardship
If you heat with either gas or electricity and apply and qualify for hardship status you will be assured of electric and gas service during the winter moratorium. The winter moratorium runs from November 1 to May 1. The utility company, in all likelihood, will encourage you to enter into a payment plan and to apply for energy assistance. If you qualify, the gas or electric company may match all, or part of any payments made on your account.
 
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  1. You have the right to utility service if you are competent to enter into a contract with the utility, don't currently owe the company for service previously used and you provide satisfactory identification.
  2. You should not be asked to pay unreasonably high deposits as a condition of service, or to make unreasonable payments on past due bills.
  3. You are entitled to be offered at least one amortization agreement in a year.
  4. You have the right to have any complaint against a utility handled promptly by that utility.
  5. If you are unable to resolve your complaint with the first person you contact at the utility, you should ask to speak to a supervisor.
  6. If you are not satisfied with the utility company's response you should call or write to the PURA Consumer Services Unit.
  7. Your utility service may not be terminated for non-payment of disputed charges during our investigation, provided that you continue to pay your current bills.
  8. You have the right to have your meter tested, free of charge, once a year by your utility. The results of the test will determine whether any adjustment of the bill is warranted. You have the right to be present during such test and request that a representative of the PURA be present for such tests.
  9. Service shall not be shut off for nonpayment of repair charges, merchandise charges or yellow page charges.
Share Your Views About Your Utility Service
PURA's directors and staff are interested in improving customer service and hearing from customers about their experiences. If you have an opinion about a utility issue or a particular case, we would like to hear from you. Customers are always welcome to write or call the PURA or appear at our hearings.

Call PURA at our toll-free number (1-800-382-4586) to learn the date, time and location of any hearing that interests you. It usually helps to arrive a few minutes early so that you can sign in to speak. At the beginning of the hearing, the Commissioner or Hearing Officer will ask if consumers wish to speak for the record. At that time, simply stand up or raise your hand. You will be sworn in and invited to tell your story in your own words.

If you cannot appear in person, please send your comments in writing to pura.executivesecretary@ct.gov or to the attention of: Executive Secretary, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. If you know the docket number and title of the case, please include it with your comments.
 
The PURA is a regulatory agency. Its purpose is to ensure that utility customers receive reliable and safe service at reasonable rates and that utility companies operate efficiently.
 
Chairperson: Arthur H. House
Vice-Chairperson: John W. Betkoski III
Director: Michael Caron
 
 
Content last updated November 2011