ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says checks totaling nearly $2 million are in the mail to 2,700 New York customers of Columbia Utilities LLC and Columbia Utilities Power LLC.
He says Thursday the companies lured consumers with false promises of 15 percent lower rates and instead their bills went up. Also, when customers sought to cancel service, Columbia locked them into 12-month contracts although they were told otherwise.
The refunds averaging $700 are part of a settlement agreement with the independent energy service companies to change their methods.
While state-mandated tax breaks provide customers with savings amounting to about 2 to 3 percent of their bill, Schneiderman says Columbia's prices more than wiped out those savings.
Columbia did not immediately reply to a request for comment.