Over 1,300 Cape Customers to Receive Restitution Checks from Viridian Energy Settlement


BARNSTABLE – Over 1,300 Cape Cod residents will be receiving restitution checks following a court settlement between the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Viridian Energy, LLC.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Friday that customers who were allegedly misled by Viridian Energy, a competitive energy supplier, are beginning to receive checks in the mail as part of the second phase of a restitution program put in place by her office.

Eligible Barnstable County customers receiving checks as part of the second phase live in Chatham, Bass River, Barnstable, Bourne, Falmouth, Dennis, Buzzards Bay, Centerville, Orleans, Osterville, Mashpee, Provincetown, Pocasset, Hyannis, Harwich, Sandwich, Sagamore, Wellfleet, Yarmouth, Brewster, Truro, Cataumet, and Forestdale.

The program is part of a $5 million settlement the AG’s Office reached with Viridian in March of 2018 over allegations that the company engaged in various deceptive and unfair sales tactics that lured consumers into costly contracts with high electricity rates.

During the first phase of the restitution program, Viridian returned approximately $1.8 million to 20,000 eligible customers across the state. Under the second phase, an independent trustee mailed $921,000 in checks to approximately 11,000 qualifying customers across the state on February 22.

Eligible customers who do not did not receive a payment in the first two phases will receive a check in the remaining two phases, which are currently scheduled for mid-2019 and early 2020.

Customers qualify for restitution if they signed up for Viridian’s electricity supply services before May 1, 2018, and:

– Enrolled in a variable-rate contract with Viridian;

– Were automatically renewed from a Viridian fixed-rate contract to a Viridian variable rate contract;

– Enrolled in a contract through door-to-door sales company Platinum Advertising; and/or;

– Enrolled in a fixed-rate contract with a three-year term during the period of September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015.

Once a qualifying customer receives their restitution payment, they can cash their check and do not need to fill out a claim.

The settlement with Viridian is part of an ongoing effort by the Attorney General’s Office to address unfair and misleading practices in the residential competitive electricity supply market.

In January, the AG’s Office filed legislation seeking to ban competitive electric suppliers from signing up residential customers for new contracts beginning in 2020. The legislation followed the release of a report in March 2018 commissioned by the AG’s Office that showed Massachusetts residents who switched to a competitive electric supplier paid a total of $176.8 million more than if they had stayed with their utility company during a two-year period from July 2015 to June 2017.

In January of 2015, Just Energy agreed to pay $4 million in restitution to statewide consumers for deceptive marketing and sales, entering consumers into agreements without their consent, and charging costly termination fees.

In October of 2018, the AG’s Office sued Starion Energy for allegedly falsely promising electricity rate reductions to consumers in unsolicited telemarketing calls and pre-recorded robocalls, and then charging those consumers tens of millions of dollars more than they would have paid if they stayed with their utility company.

The case is handled by Assistant Attorneys General Elizabeth Anderson, Joseph Dorfler, Alexander Early, and Elizabeth Mahony, and Deputy Division Chief Nathan Forster, Division Chief Rebecca Tepper, and all of AG Healey’s Energy & Telecommunications Division, along with Energy and Environment Bureau Chief Melissa Hoffer.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center 

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