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Lawsuit filed against Summit Utilities after alleged 'over-billing' of customers

A lawsuit has now been filed against Summit Utilities as the company is being accused of "price-gouging" and "substantially over-billing" their customers.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A class action lawsuit has been filed against Summit Utilities as the company is being accused of "price-gouging" and "substantially over-billing" their customers.

The lawsuit alleges that Summit Utilities, which has seen continued complaints over the past several weeks, failed to "appropriately provide utility gas service to its customers in Arkansas." 

The company, which purchased assets of CenterPoint Energy back in April 2021, was expected to bring a "seamless transition" to customers during the agreed-upon one-year transition period that was allotted on the date of purchase. 

According to the lawsuit, that agreed-upon transition period expired in December 2022 with several complaints following shortly after from customers.

"Even though they were using less gas they were paying double, triple, [and] sometimes even quadruple what they have paid in the past months," the plaintiff's attorney Scott Poynter said.

The lawsuit claims that a number of different customers allegedly saw a huge increase in their average bill at the start of 2023— describing the price increase as "skyrocketing several times their normal average." 

Since then, Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has fielded numerous calls and emails about the alleged overcharges from the company. 

Griffin continued to investigate the matter and stated that Arkansans should only be charged for what they use. 

"We can take some of the egregious examples and make sure that what people were being billed accurately reflects the gas usage," Griffin said in early February. "I want to see that with my own eyes."

The class action lawsuit defines the "class" as being customers of Summit Utilities in Arkansas. Right now, the lawsuit does not require other plaintiffs to join the case, but people can file a complaint about Summit Utilities with the attorney.

The lawyers want to see Summit find a way to remove estimated bills that led to some customers being overcharged over the past couple of months.

"They should be reading the meters," Poynter said. "That's something every gas utility does and consumers should only pay what they are using."

As for Summit Utilities, the lawsuit claims that the company pinned the price increases on the "transition from [CenterPoint Energy's] computer system to Summit’s systems." 

According to the lawsuit, Summit Utilities also attributed the price hike to an overall increase in gas cost which has trickled down to the customers. 

Summit Utilities put out the following statement after the lawsuit was announced:

“Summit does not comment on pending or threatened litigation," the statement said.

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