A Pulaski County circuit court judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Summit Utilities Inc. from disconnecting gas customers and collecting late fees while a lawsuit over billing issues is being considered. Summit, however, has filed a petition to move the case to federal court.
Circuit Court Judge LaTonya Honorable issued the order late Monday, saying that the suit by Summit customers “demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits and a likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm that is not adequately compensable by money damages.”
Click here to read the judge's order, or visit arkansasonline.com/315summit.
Summit customers “may refuse and not make payments on their Summit monthly gas bills” while the restraining order is pending, she wrote. The suit seeks class-action status for all Summit customers in the state.
The utility also filed its petition Monday afternoon saying it “denies the allegations in the complaint, denies that it is liable in any way, and denies that class treatment is appropriate.” The utility asked for the suit to be moved to U.S. District Court in Little Rock under the federal Class Action Fairness Act because the dispute involves more than $5 million in claims. Summit says its monthly revenue in Arkansas is more than $5 million.
The federal petition was assigned to Judge Brian Miller in the Eastern District of Arkansas; he has not yet ruled on Summit’s motion.
Summit, in a recent message to customers, said it voluntarily suspended all disconnects and stopped collecting late fees.
Click here to read customer complaints, or visit arkansasonline.com/315complaints.