PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Nearly 200,000 Maine consumers are part of a class action lawsuit against Electricity Maine.

This lawsuit — brought to court by Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple, of Portland — claims the company shorted its customers out of $35 million.

Attorneys with the firm said Electricity Maine deceived thousands of Maine households and small businesses with the promise of substantial cost savings, then transferred them to long-term rates that exceeded the standard rate.

"When it started in 2011 and into mid-2013, it became the fastest growing energy company in the country through their marketing practices," managing partner Tom Hallett said. "That allowed them to sign up almost 200,000 people in a very short period of time."

"No other provider had broken into that market because it was a really tough market to succeed in. No one else could figure out how to make a profit," Ben Donahue of Hallett, Zerillo & Whipple said. "Electricity Maine promised consumers that it could save that money, and in doing that make themselves a profit. They unambiguously failed in saving consumers money; they did, however, succeed in making themselves an exorbitant amount of money."

A representative for Spark Holdco LLC, which owns the electric company, would not comment on the pending litigation. NEWS CENTER also emailed Electricity Maine's customer service and had not heard back by the time this story was published.

Hallett and Donahue said this lawsuit could take years. If you're interested in learning more, email the law office at classaction@hzwlaw.com.