Accused of violating more than 1,000 consumer protection rules, Puget Sound Energy has been slapped with a $104,300 fine by Washington state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission. The vast majority of those violations had to do with the energy company’s failure to correctly execute the state’s refusal of service rule.
PSE customers many of whom were low-income, were being forced to pay back any and all debt they had amassed before the energy company would restore their power. The rules, however, state that customers can have their power turned back on once a two-month deposit and one-time reconnection fee are paid.
“There were occasions where they (PSE) told the customer they needed to pay the entire amount before they could reconnect,” said Sharon Wallace, the UTC’s assistant director for consumer protection. “In that case it would end up with the customer remaining disconnected because they didn’t have the money or they needed several months to pay.”