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Published: September 2015
“Full file” reports undermine existing protections and harm consumers credit
Consumer advocates wrote Congress in opposition of H.R. 3035, the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015. This legislation, if enacted, would preempt state utility regulatory and legislative authority, risk damaging the credit scores of millions of low-income consumers and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.
Consumer Action joins coalition members in opposing H.R. 3035, the Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2015. Proponents claim that “full file” reporting of utility payments will help improve credit reports and have a negative impact on very few. However, these claims are based on a very limited data set from a small number of electric and natural gas utilities that engage in this practice. To the extent that utility reporting creates a score for “thin file” or “no file” consumers, there is fear that it will end up being a negative credit score. For low-income consumers who already have a credit score, utility reporting may harm their existing credit histories.
In addition, H.R. 3035 would preempt state privacy protections in California, New Jersey, Wisconsin and potentially other state laws that prohibit utilities from sharing a customer’s financial information without their consent.
National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of it low-income clients) | National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates | Center for Digital Democracy | Center for Economic Justice | Consumer Action | Consumers Union | National Council of La Raza | The Greenlining Institute | U.S. PIRG | The Utility Reform Network - California | Indiana Citizens Action Coalition | Massachusetts Low Income Energy Affordability Network | Public Utility Law Project Of New York, Inc. | Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy | Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (on behalf of its low-income clients) | Texas Legal Services Center
For more information, visit NCLC's website.
“Full file” reports undermine existing protections and harm consumers credit (OpposeHR3035HFSCletter.pdf)
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