Washington state regulators fined Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) $250,000 for failing to correct violations found two years ago in the combination utility’s management of customer accounts. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) originally fined PSE $104,300 in October 2010 for allegedly improperly handling customer accounts, including low-income customers that were disconnected for nonpayment. In addition to the penalty, PSE was ordered to correct 265 accounts. UTC approved a multi-party settlement of a complaint that originally alleged 515 violations of the regulators’ 2010 order. Besides the UTC staff and PSE, the settlement included the Public Counsel Section of the Washington Attorney General’s Office, and the nonprofit The Energy Project, representing low-income customers. UTC said PSE now has provided refunds and credits to the customers with the mishandled accounts, and it has changed its billing practices to ensure that customer payments are applied correctly to avoid improper shutoffs. The utility also has agreed to make a $75,000 contribution to its low-income assistance program.
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