(Host) The Vermont attorney general’s office has reached an anti-trust settlement with a Rutland-based solid waste company. Attorney General William Sorrell says Casella Waste Systems will change its contracts in order to bring more competition to the Vermont waste hauling industry. The state’s investigation focused on contracts that Casella signed with its small business customers.
Julie Brill is the assistant attorney general who heads the state’s anti-trust unit. Brill says that the Casella contracts required customers to sign up for three years of trash pick-ups. The contracts were renewed automatically unless the customer canceled 60 days before the end of the term. Brill says the automatic renewal is known in the industry as an “evergreen” provision.
(Brill) “Our concern is that competition was stymied because of these evergreen provisions and other entities either couldn’t get into the market or were having difficulty offering lower prices to consumers, or to businesses, for their solid waste services. And the net result was that doing business in Vermont was not as low as it possibly could have been had competition really been working.”
(Host) The settlement that Casella reached with the state requires the company to shorten its contract terms. The settlement also says Casella must give notice to the state if it plans to buy another waste hauling company in the state. Casella also agreed to pay the state $50,000 to cover the cost of its investigation.