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Blumenthal & Burr Introduce Legislation to Refund Consumers for Energy Overcharges

Amid increasing natural gas prices, the MPACT Act would rebate millions of dollars in energy overcharges to consumers & help cut future excessive energy costs

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced legislation to close a loophole that has allowed natural gas pipeline companies to overcharge customers for decades. The bipartisan Making Pipelines Accountable to Consumers and Taxpayers (MPACT) Act could provide millions of dollars in refunds to consumers who have been overcharged for their energy costs and help reduce future excessive energy rates for consumers. 

“This bill will fix a loophole that has unfairly forced consumers to pay too much for their energy costs,” said Blumenthal. “Consumers are routinely overcharged for natural gas, yet are unable to recoup their money due to a loophole in current law. Until this bill is law, consumers will continue to pay these excessive fees. As natural gas prices rise, we must do everything possible to ease the pain consumers are experiencing and passing this bipartisan legislation is an important step to get money back into consumers’ pockets.”

“Americans across the nation rely on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to support and maintain reasonable energy costs,” said Burr. “However, under current law, natural gas consumers are unable to fully recover excessive charges from unjust rates. This legislation addresses this issue by giving the Commission the authority to close loopholes and level the playing field, upholding reliable and reasonable rates while also increasing transparency on natural gas pipeline regulations. I’m proud to work with Senator Blumenthal on this legislation to ensure American consumers, regardless of their energy sources, receive the lowest rate possible.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates rates charged by natural gas pipeline companies, but does not have the ability to order rebates for the pipelines’ customers when they are overcharged. Interstate natural gas pipeline companies regularly overcharge their direct customers – ratepayers like shipping and utility companies – and those costs are passed along to consumers. Under current law, there is no recourse that allows ratepayers to recoup overcharges, and the natural gas pipeline companies are simply able to keep the excess. This legislation would remedy this problem by granting FERC the authority to require that pipeline companies reimburse their customers for excessive charges and ensure excessive consumer rates are reduced on a timely basis.

The MPACT Act is supported by the American Public Gas Association, Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, Efficiency for All, North Carolina Utilities Commission, and Public Citizen.