Attorneys representing energy consumers across the country filed a $50 million class-action lawsuit Thursday against Middlebury electricity supplier Starion Energy.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Starion engaged in an “illegal bait-and-switch” routine that defrauded thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.
National law firm Sanford Heisler said in a statement that Starion targeted low-income and elderly consumers with promises of lower rates, which were later increased two or three-fold.
“The company actively misleads customers to believe that switching to Starion will save them money,” David Tracey, a Sanford Heisler attorney, said in a statement. “But the company fails to disclose that its regular rates are nearly always substantially higher than its competitors and exorbitant when compared to the energy supply market.”
A Starion spokesperson could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
Starion and two other suppliers were the subject of a state regulator investigation last year into whether they switched customers to another supplier without their knowledge, which is known as “slamming.”
The legislature passed a series of reforms earlier this year aimed at electricity marketing practices. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued final regulations earlier this month.
The lawsuit asks for a jury trial, compensatory damages, triple damages, interest, and an order forbidding Starion from continuing to use “deceptive, illegal and unlawful trade practices and schemes.”