UI Fumbles over Rate Hike

The United Illuminating Company wants to raise rates but the state said no. The final decision will be made next month.
After months of scrutinizing UI’s books and records, the state Department of Public Utility Control issued a draft decision Tuesday stating it would not approve additional revenues for 2009. UI requested an increase of $51.4 million.

The PUC made many cuts to the company’s request and made adjustments to some accounts and the average residential customer  -- who uses 700 kWh per month – will actually see their bill reduce by about 30 cents per month, according to the PUC. 

This is not, however, the last step.

On Jan. 29, the PUC will consideration written exceptions to the draft decision and oral arguments. A final decision is expected on Feb. 4, and then new rates would go into affect.

Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel issued a statement Tuesday after the PUC released its draft decision, stating it was pleased with the decision.

“While employers both nationally and locally are laying off workers, UI was attempting to charge ratepayers for over 100 new employees,” Consumer Counsel Mary J. Healey said in a news release. “There was absolutely no justification -- none -- for rate increases to provide executives with higher compensation and the company with higher profit levels when Connecticut families are struggling to make ends meet.”

Southern Connecticut Gas Company has also requested to raise rates by $50.1 million.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday he will fight the rate hike request, which comes four months after the company was ordered to return millions of dollars in unjust overearnings.

Southern filed an application with the PUC Tuesday. If approved, customers would pay an average of more than $19 per month, Blumenthal said.

Last week, Connecticut Natural Gas sought to raise rates by $16.4 million, or 4.4 percent, Blumenthal said. The company was also ordered to return $15.5 million in overearnings.

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