- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is asking federal regulators to curb independent electrical suppliers in Connecticut who offer new contracts with lower rates, but fail to fully disclose the potential for significant rate hikes in case of extreme weather fluctuations.

Murphy says in a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez that thousands of Connecticut residents have switched to these power suppliers, sometimes through phone solicitations without the consumer’s express consent.

These customers have been hit by electric rates that are sometimes triple that offered by state’s utilities during this particularly harsh winter season.

Murphy calls the rate hikes unjustifiable, even in light of natural gas supply shortages.

He asks the FTC to come up with guidance to better protect consumers and advise state regulators on the risks that independent power suppliers pose to customers.