New England residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against Eversource Energy and AVANGRID Inc. alleging that the companies fixed prices through a years-long scheme that affected millions of people.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, claims that 14.7 million people in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island were affected by a "unique monopoly" between Eversource and Avangrid Inc. that caused overcharges of $3.6 billion.
The complaint states that the companies intentionally manipulated the market to create shortage conditions and raise gas prices.
Local companies run by Eversource and AVANGRID include Yankee Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.
The lawsuit claims the scheme spanned from 2013 to 2016 and raised rates by at least 20 percent.
"As a result of Defendants’ covert interference with the natural operation of competitive forces in the interdependent natural gas and electricity markets, New Englanders were overcharged by billions of dollars on their electric bills,"the complaint states.
The lawsuit demands $3.6 billion and a trial by jury.
Last month the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel announced that it was working with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) into an investigation into alleged market abuse and price fixing by Eversource and AVANGRID. That investigation is ongoing.
Eversource responded with the following statement:
"We are aware of the lawsuit and are reviewing it. However, the facts remain unchanged. The allegations underlying this lawsuit are untrue and baseless. The expenditure of resources to further these false claims is regrettable for all parties involved."