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    CT lawmakers call for multi-state hearing on 'exorbitant' Eversource rate increases

    November 28, 2022 - Alex Putterman, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport


      Nov. 25—Legislative leaders in Connecticut are calling for a multi-state hearing on the utility giant Eversource, after what they describe as "exorbitant and punishing" rate increases set to take effect next year.

      In a letter sent to the chair of the state's Public Utility Regulatory Authority on Friday, Senate Democrats called on PURA to hold a meeting in collaboration with regulators in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

      "This hearing should encompass the process by which Eversource procures energy, how it forecasts natural gas and other fuel source rates and if it is providing their ratepayers with sufficient protections from excessive increases such as we have just seen proposed," read the letter, which was signed by 20 Senate Democrats, including Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.

      A PURA spokesperson said Friday morning that Chair Marissa Gillett "shares the senators' objectives of increasing accountability and transparency, and looks forward to exploring all reasonable efforts to address this untenable situation."

      "Chair Gillett intends to pursue the Senators' request for multi-state collaboration, and will update the leaders and the public with her efforts to do so," the spokesperson said.

      Last week, Eversource announced that electric generation rates would double from from 12.1 cents per kilowatt hour currently to 24.2 cents per kilowatt hour as of Jan. 1, barring regulatory approval, causing electric bills for the average residential customer to increase $85 a month. United Illuminating announced a similar spike, from 10.62 cents per kilowatt hour to 21.94, leading the average bill to spike $79 a month.

      With the increases, generation rates will be nearly twice as high as at any point in the past 10 years.

      While the utility companies have said the increases are an unavoidable result of a spike in natural gas costs, the Democratic senators knocked Eversource for "extreme profit seeking and lack of foresight." They noted that Eversource's rates are higher than those of at least one competitor, Avangrid, as well as municipal electric utilities.

      "How is Eversource, with large economies of scale available to it, unable to compete with small municipal electric suppliers?" they wrote. "The obvious answer to this question is simple: greed."

      Currently, lawmakers and regulators have little ability to block Eversource and UI's rate increases, though calls for further oversight have grown louder in recent years.

      In their letter, the lawmakers wrote that Eversource "makes record profits, delivers those record profits to investors at the expense of ratepayers and makes its executives fabulously rich" and called for a system that more closely ties profits to performance.

      "Shareholders, executives and regulators need to come together to provide relief for ratepayers and restore confidence in the management of Eversource," they said.


      (c)2022 the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.)

      Visit the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.) at

      Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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