The fight against CL&P’s proposed $231.5 million rate hike entered a third round in New London Wednesday. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) hosted its third public forum, to allow consumers to voice any comments and concerns.
“$150 of an increase may be nothing to some people, but to me it’s substantial. It is three weeks of groceries,” said H.L. Chris Chrissos of North Stonington.
Chrissos like many at the meeting highlighted the strain an additional $150 on the average bill would put on seniors and those living on a fixed income.
“It means I’m going to have to tighten my belt even more, and that’s going to be difficult,” said Chrissos.
“We certainly sympathize with our customers, own unique individual circumstances,” said CL&P spokesperson Tricia Taskey Modifica. Modifica explains that the money is needed to improve infrastructure, including poles, wires, transformers and substations to prevent a repeat of the October 2011 nor’easter.
“We are essentially building the electric grid of the future,” said Modifica.
Diane Nadeau, President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Windham Region, agrees with Modifica. She says the hike is a necessary evil to guarantee energy at all times.
“It’s more important for us to have reliable energy than to pay 50 cents a day, which is a cup of coffee,” said Nadeau.
The final decision will come from PURA in early December. According to Chairman Art House, there are still weeks of hearings to go, followed by file exhibits and final arguments. He says all the input from tonight’s meeting will also be considered.