United Energy Trading Accuses PG&E of Antitrust Violations that Stifle Competition

Lawsuit Alleges PG&E Conspires to Destroy Competition and Deny Consumers Competitive Pricing

Feb 18, 2016, 10:15 ET from United Energy Trading, LLC

DENVER, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- United Energy Trading, LLC (UET), which does business in northern California as Blue Spruce Energy Services, has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing PG&E of multiple violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are PG&E employees Albert Torres, Bill Chen and Tanisha Robinson.

The lawsuit alleges that PG&E and the other defendants follow a pattern and practice of intentionally manipulating PG&E's Consolidated Billing Unit in order to damage commodity gas suppliers like UET, which results in more costly natural gas for Californians.

In 1991, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) implemented a legislative directive that opened the consumer gas market to non-utility providers, which was specifically designed to provide consumers with more competitive pricing for natural gas.  PG&E's questionable practices have placed the directive's intended benefits at risk. 

"Rather than facilitate lower prices for Californians, PG&E has taken advantage of its position of trust to increase their own profits, kill competition and deny consumers cost savings.  With natural gas costs at a 10-year low, PG&E practices prevent consumers from enjoying lower monthly utility bills," said Mike Huggins, Managing Director, United Energy Trading.

Blue Spruce currently provides natural gas to over 45,000 retail customers.  Since 2010, Blue Spruce has been certified by the CPUC to market natural gas as a Core Transport Agent.  Under the provisions of the CPUC pilot program, Blue Spruce elected to have PG&E act as its collections agent.

"PG&E deliberately manipulates the billing process and gives Blue Spruce misinformation that makes it difficult for us to provide quality customer service. Their actions have completely subverted the program that the CPUC hoped would promote competition and lead to lower costs for consumers," Huggins added.

In many cases, PG&E's unlawful billing practices allow it to profit from natural gas that it has not paid for.  The lawsuit asks for unspecified monetary damages that are likely to be in the millions of dollars.

About Blue Spruce Energy Services

Blue Spruce Energy serves California retail natural gas customers under the umbrella of United Energy Trading (UET), LLC, a fully integrated energy services company with offices and operations across North America. Blue Spruce Energy also offers its customers an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing Blue Spruce Green natural gas or by purchasing Green-e Energy certified Renewable Energy Certificates.  A tree is planted in California for every new Blue Spruce Green natural gas customer.  Blue Spruce is dedicated to offering money-saving and reliable natural gas to our customers across California.

Contact:  Mike Huggins, Managing Director, United Energy Trading Services, LLC 720-897-4746

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SOURCE United Energy Trading, LLC