Lawmakers Eye Changes for Electric Utilities Following Power Outages, Bill Increases

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Major changes are being proposed for how electric companies run in the state.

Lawmakers are working on legislation in response to skyrocketing electric bills and some people losing power for up to a week following Tropical Storm Isaias.

“It’s pretty high. My bill has been like $200,” said Ingmar Riveros of Hartford.

“My grandmother she had lost power and she had lost all of her food and she also lost her refrigerator,” said Katelyn Kingman of Hartford.

Now bi-partisan lawmakers – the chairs and the ranking members of the Energy and Technology Committee - have introduced a draft bill with proposed rules for electric companies.

Among the ideas:

  • Asking state regulators to consider an interim rate decrease
  • During outages that last longer than three days customers receive a credit of $125 a day and up to $1,000 for lost food and medicine
  • And the companies should set up regional service centers staffed with Connecticut-based workers

“I think it’s high time we do something that really focuses on what consumers and ratepayers really need,” said Rep. Liz Linehan, D – Cheshire.

Also the bill would more closely tie the company’s performance to its profits.

In response a spokesperson for Eversource wrote in part:

There have been a number of proposals brought up by political leaders that range from well-informed to some that show a misunderstanding of the facts… We do support creating a transparent, performance-based environment, that’s grounded in facts, defined metrics, and builds a better overall system for our customers.”

Still many of those customers are looking for better reliability and relief from high costs.

“Especially now that everybody is suffering because of the COVID. A lot of people lost their jobs and stuff like that. So everybody needs help,” said Ingmar Riveros.

You can speak out on the issue during a virtual legislative hearing on Tuesday.

We’re told the hope is the bill will eventually be brought forward during a special session.

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