PUC begins preliminary investigation into market practices of Eversource and Avangrid

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Division of Public Utilities & Carriers has initiated a preliminary investigation into allegations that the market practices of two non-Rhode Island companies, Eversource and Avangrid, may have artificially restricted New England’s gas pipeline capacity during the 2013-2014 winter by failing to use pre-reserved pipeline capacity.

The investigation is based on a recent study published by the Environmental Defense Fund in collaboration with three university researchers.

In a release, the division, which is part of the state Public Utilities Commission, said that, “should the DPUC determine that Rhode Island ratepayers were inappropriately impacted by these practices, it will pursue all legal remedies available to compensate ratepayers for their overpayments.”

At the time of the study’s release, representatives from Avangrid, Eversource and The Northeast Gas Association vehemently denied the allegations, saying that the report was “irresponsible” and “frankly, ridiculous.”

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Rhode Island is the third state in New England, after Connecticut and Massachusetts, in which regulators have initiated a preliminary investigation.