HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Attorney General William Tong announced a $1.8 million settlement with Eversource over their alleged false and deceptive practices to entice consumers to convert to natural gas.

The Hartford Courant released a report last year, exposing notices from Eversource claiming homeowners would be unable to connect to natural gas once their road had been resurfaced due to a “paving moratorium.”

The notices claimed that it would take several years before the pavement could be opened again and Eversource would be unable to provide a gas service line to their homes during the moratorium. Additionally, the notices claimed that if homeowners’ current equipment failed, or if they waited to convert to natural gas after this deadline, they would be unable to connect to natural gas.

AG Tong launched an investigation following the Courant’s report. He filed a petition with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to seek an investigation, which resulted in PURA imposing a $1.8 million civil penalty in 2021 against Eversource, claiming the company’s failure to disclose whether certain gas expansion solicitations were funded by shareholders or ratepayers.

The AG office also launched its own investigation to determine if Eversource’s claims were false or misleading. During that investigation, the office found that there were multiple towns where no-such paving moratoria existed.

“Eversource misled homeowners to get them to switch to natural gas,” AG Tong said in a statement. “These high-pressure tactics are unacceptable coming from any business, much less a regulated utility. Eversource has already paid a $1.8 million civil penalty imposed by the PURA, and now they will pay an additional $1.8 million to settle these serious consumer protection violations.”

Following the settlement, Eversource will pay $1.6 million to Operation Fuel to assist low-income ratepayers, as well as $200,000 to the Attorney General for consumer education and enforcement purposes.

In total, Eversource must pay $3.6 million for the solicitations between PURA’s prior penalty, as well as AG Tong’s settlement.

“We’re pleased to resolve this matter in a cooperative and constructive way by providing help to utility customers through Operation Fuel and the Attorney General’s consumer education fund,” Mitch Gross of Eversource said in a statement. “We continue to focus on providing assistance to all of our customers who need it.”

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