Protecting Against the Harms of the Mistaken Utility Undercharge

Abstract

First, Part I introduces the basic law concerning estoppel. Then, Part II discusses the application of estoppel doctrine to the collection of undercharges by public utilities. Next, Part III examines whether, even in situations where the utility may collect the undercharge, it may be prohibited from using service disconnection as a collection device. Part IV analyzes the right of a consumer to bring a counter-claim for damages resulting from a utility's mistaken undercharge. Finally, Part V recommends the adoption of a new approach to the problem of the utility undercharge as it relates to low-income households.

Keywords

Public utilities, Administrative fees

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Authors

Roger D. Colton (National Consumer Law Center)

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