BOSTON (CBS Connecticut and AP) – A class-action lawsuit accuses two utilities of conspiring to drive up energy costs in New England.

An attorney says the lawsuit filed in Boston federal court accuses Eversource Energy and Avangrid Inc. of using their market power to “unlawfully jack up” consumer electric bills. The suit contends customers in New England were overcharged $3.6 billion.

The two companies are being investigated by the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel and the state’s public utilities authority on charges of market manipulation.

The lawsuit claims the utilities manipulated the amount of natural gas available to power plants by reserving more than they needed from 2013 to 2016.

The two companies own multiple utilities across New England. Eversource has denied any wrongdoing. Avangrid says it will “vigorously” defend itself.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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