United Illuminating Customers Object to Rate Increase

By Josh Chapin
|  Friday, May 3, 2013  |  Updated 12:36 AM EDT
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United Illuminating is proposing a rate increase of about 2 dollars a month for the average household.  They held a public hearing in Bridgeport to listen to the concerns of residents.

United Illuminating is proposing a rate increase of about 2 dollars a month for the average household. They held a public hearing in Bridgeport to listen to the concerns of residents.

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It's equal to about a cup of coffee. United Illuminating says the average increase will be about $2-$3 to your average bill.

Connecticut's two largest utility companies want to raise rates and now customers of UI are weighing in. Tonight a public hearing was held in Bridgeport.

Many who suffered so much during Irene and Sandy say they shouldn't be the ones getting hit again.

"It's still half a tank of gas. It's 25-30 bucks a year. It adds up over the course of the month paying bills," said Chris Romano, who lives on Cozy Beach in East Haven and lost power for nearly a week during Irene.

"We pay high enough. We pay some of the highest electric rates in the country."

Those rates might soon be even higher. United Illuminating has filed a request with the utilities authority to hike their rates starting in 2014. UI says it would mean about 2 dollars more a month.

"There's a number of pieces of infrastructure we need to replace in order to maintain the level of reliability our system has now," said Michael West, director of corporate communications for UI.

UI says the recent storms are only a small component of the increase. Thursday a second public hearing about the rate hike was held in Bridgeport.

"It's putting a dent I don't care if it's but two cents. It's two cents coming out of my pocket," said Lillian Ward of Bridgeport.

"Treat us like we're human beings. Then maybe we might agree to a rate increase but right now no," said Tonie Lawrence of Bridgeport

UI says it hasn't asked for an increase since 2008--even after the 2011 Nor'Easter and Irene. The power company is trying to make $95 million in revenue off this increase.

"Our residents should not be the ones who have to disproportionately shoulder the costs of these much needed improvements," said Bill Finch, Bridgeport's mayor.

If approved UI customers won't see that $2 extra on your bill until July of 2014.

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