Connecticut Electric Broker Suspension Action Starts Preventing Selling Electricity

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Consumer Counsel Mary J. Healey today announced the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has preliminarily granted their request to suspend the license of an electricity broker and his company for allegedly defrauding a private schools organization of $180,000.

In February, Blumenthal and Healey charged that Raymond Sanzone and his company Turris Associates, LLC oF Redding used forged documents to fraudulently more than double his commission on a contract to provide power for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).

In a draft decision issued today, the DPUC granted Blumenthal and Healey’s request to suspend Sanzone’s broker license.

“I applaud the DPUC for granting promising to pull the plug on an allegedly fraudulent electricity broker — granting our request,” Blumenthal said. “This preliminary step is exactly what we sought, stopping a company that allegedly doctored documents to defraud a schools organization of $180,000. We will continue to fight for restitution and other remedies against Turris.”

Healey said, “We are so pleased that the DPUC has seen fit to protect the public through suspension of the license of Turris. Serious problems with Turris’ business activity, and specifically the commissions to be received by Turris, have been identified in two separate DPUC dockets now. It is increasingly clear that Turris simply cannot be trusted to participate in this field, and the company has offered no defense to the present allegations that it forged a document to receive commissions well above the agreed-upon amount. License suspension is a must in this situation.”

According to the DPUC’s interim decision, Turris failed to even respond to DPUC interrogatories seeking an explanation for an alleged forged document.

The DPUC also stated that Turris may still be actively soliciting customers and charging aggregator fees to these customers. If the allegations against Turris are true, customers may be at risk of being defrauded, requiring emergency action, the DPUC said.

Turris is an electricity “aggregator,” a middleman who arranges contracts between independent electricity providers and users.

Sanzone negotiated a contract with CAIS in June 2006 under which the power provider was to pay him a commission of 1 cent per 10 kilowatt hours sold to the organization. The cost would be passed on to CAIS.

The version of the contract, however, that Sanzone allegedly faxed the electricity supplier, Hess Corporation, said that he was to receive 2.5 cents per 10 kilowatt hours, resulting in $180,000 in fraudulent payments to him and Turris. The signature of CAIS Director Dr. Douglas J. Lyons appears different on that document compared to the original.

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