Regulated electric and natural gas companies moved to the top of the consumer complaint list in 2011, while telecommunications companies dropped to a close second.
The state Utilities and Transportation Commission’s Consumer Protection Help Line opened 715 customer complaints against regulated electric and natural gas companies for customers with billing disputes, disconnect threats, quality of service and customer service issues. In 2010, customer filed 697 complaints against energy companies. Energy and telecom companies swapped places in the ranking, with complaints against energy companies increasing 25 percent over the previous year, and complaints against telecommunications companies dropping 27 percent. The UTC received 528 consumer complaints against regulated telephone companies in 2011. In 2010, they topped the list with more than 700 consumer complaints.
The solid waste industry was a distant third although complaints were up 22 percent from the previous year. Eighty-four consumers filed complaints against regulated garbage and recycling companies in 2011.
UTC Consumer Protection staff saved consumers more than $200,000 in 2011 through customer credits and refunds. They investigated 1,364 complaints for customers of regulated companies, and recorded more than 170,000 violations for failure to comply with state laws.