New Jersey officials have filed civil suits against three energy suppliers.
The suits announced Wednesday claim the companies deceived consumers by guaranteeing lower monthly electric and gas bills if they switched providers.
Instead, the state says Fairview-based Systrum Energy and two New York companies -- Palmco Power NJ and HIKO Energy -- dramatically raised prices on thousands of customers last winter. Palmco and Hiko also are accused of "slamming" customers -- signing them up without their consent.
The companies could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The suits seek restitution along with civil penalties, attorneys' fees and costs. The state says it also will seek future adherence to all applicable marketing, advertising and contract standards.
State officials say they received hundreds of consumer complaints about the firms.