Attorney General George Jepsen has filed a lawsuit to enforce a $360,000 civil penalty imposed by state utility regulators against Turris Associates LLC, of Redding, for defrauding an association of independent schools and an electricity supplier of $180,000.
The lawsuit, filed in Danbury Superior Court on behalf of the state Department of Public Utility Control, also seeks to hold Raymond D. Sanzone, also of Redding, responsible for the penalty because he was the sole principal of the company and had complete control over the company’s activities.
The DPUC imposed the penalty in an Oct. 13, 2010 decision in which it revoked Turris’ authorization to operate as an electric aggregator in Connecticut.
“These schools were looking to a competitive energy supplier for lower cost electricity. Instead, they were overcharged by the agent who was supposed to be representing their interests,” Jepsen said. “We’re asking the court to enforce this penalty.”
The DPUC revoked Turris’ authority to operate as an aggregator based on a petition filed by the Office of Attorney General and the Office of Consumer Counsel, on the basis of complaints by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the Hess Corporation.
“Dishonest business practices will not be tolerated in this field,” said Consumer Counsel Mary Healey. “It may be difficult for even sophisticated business customers to understand the terms of electricity purchase contracts, and we must continue to be vigilant so that complicated terms will not lead to excessive charges.”
The school association said Sanzone, acting through Turris, promised to negotiate electric power contracts on behalf of the association at lower rates, in return for fees of 1 mill, or one-tenth of a cent, per kilowatt hour. In fact, Turris charged a fee of 2.5 mills per kilowatt hour, without disclosing the change to the schools.
Over the three years of the contract, the petition estimated Turris was paid more than $300,000 in aggregators’ fees, an overcharge of $180,000 from the schools’ agreement. Neither Sanzone nor Turris responded to nor appeared before the DPUC to answer the charges.
Assistant Attorney General Robert Marconi is representing Jepsen in this case.