Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Summit Utilities Go well with, Deferring to PSC | Arkansas Enterprise Information


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Plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit in opposition to Summit Utilities over Arkansas prospects’ pure fuel payments have voluntarily dismissed the swimsuit, which had included preliminary restraining orders stopping the utility from chopping service to nonpaying prospects.

The plaintiffs, represented partly by Scott Poynter and Daniel Holland of the Poynter Legislation Group in Little Rock, requested for dismissal with out prejudice, making it topic to refiling.

“Plaintiffs intend to supply the Public Service Fee the chance to contemplate their claims below the Main Jurisdiction Doctrine,” their submitting mentioned. “No class has been licensed and no reply or movement for abstract judgment has been filed. As such, this discover of voluntary dismissal with out prejudice is permissible and applicable…”

Summit Utilities of Colorado grew to become Arkansas’ largest pure fuel supplier when it accomplished its acquisition of CenterPoint Power’s infrastructure and prospects in Arkansas and Oklahoma in January 2022. The acquisition had a price of $2.15 billion.

U.S. District Choose Billy Roy Wilson granted the movement for voluntary dismissal on Tuesday, rendering moot the non permanent restraining orders granted by a state choose and a federal choose final week.

U.S. District Choose Brian Miller recused himself as a result of he was a Summit buyer, resulting in Wilson’s appointment to the case.

Summit officers had beforehand agreed that the Public Service Fee, Arkansas’ regulator of public utilities, was the right venue to listen to grievances about issues the corporate had in billing Arkansans and shifting over their accounts within the transition from CenterPoint.

The lawsuit accused Summit of overcharging Arkansans and manipulating payments in different methods. It additionally accused the corporate of insufficient oversight of the billing course of.

“At Summit, offering distinctive and protected service to our prospects and communities is our high precedence,” mentioned a press release from Lizzy Reinholt, Summit’s senior vp of company Affairs. “We’re working onerous to deal with buyer considerations so we are able to present the service our prospects count on of us and we count on of ourselves… name wait occasions are down, and our customer support staff stands prepared to assist prospects handle their wants.”

The corporate has added 50 customer support representatives to scale back name wait occasions since Nov. 1 and will probably be hiring extra within the months forward. Reinholt informed Arkansas Enterprise that wait occasions at the moment are averaging beneath two minutes.

Summit has additionally arrange a brand new on-line fee help web page, the corporate mentioned in a information launch,

“As a regulated utility, Summit doesn’t revenue from the price of pure fuel, and the Arkansas Public Service Fee critiques our fuel buying plans and value of fuel filings yearly,” Reinholt added. “We all know that prospects are combating excessive power prices this winter and count on a big lower in the price of fuel once we make our subsequent required price of fuel submitting on the finish of this month.”

On Nov. 1, 2022, the corporate suspended charging late charges and disconnecting prospects. The utility will proceed that coverage in the interim however “encourages prospects to pay their payments and name the customer support division at 800-992-7552 for details about fee plans, common month-to-month billing, or fee help for those who qualify.”

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