Connecticut residents had the chance to comment today on rising utility bills and efforts to restore power after Tropical Storm Isaias as the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority conducts an investigation into Eversource.
PURA heard initial comments during a hearing on Aug. 24, but the hearing ran long, so the office of consumer counsel requested the opportunity for more people to have a chance to speak.
“My bill last month was $518. It has gotten to the point now where we actually have to make the decision of can we afford to buy groceries or do we need to have the electric stay on?,” said Donna Lane, an Eversource customer.
“My utilities in the month of August outbeat my rent and I’m just furious that the people that are suffering besides having the virus going around are the seniors,” said Beth Schwartz, an Eversource customer.
“Give PURA immense power to regulate Eversource because this is beyond ridiculous to the point that my family and I are on the cusp of having to leave the state entirely because we can’t afford electric bills, we can’t afford the taxes, and we can’t afford the water bills. This is just absurd. At the end of the day, my pocket is suffering, my family is suffering and this can’t continue,” said Ben Chalfin, an Eversource customer.
Many of the people who spoke Thursday morning questioned Eversource’s effectiveness in storm preparedness, how much Eversource top executives are earning and how Connecticut’s electric rates compare to other states.
“Give us a public option. Give us a public utility. Allow it to be regulated. It shouldn’t be for profit. It should be as a service to the people who live here,” said Christian Martirano, an Eversource customer.
“Connecticut residential electricity customers are paying 80 percent more for electricity than the average consumer elsewhere. At nearly 24 cents per kw, Connecticut would rank second only to Hawaii in electric rates in the entire country. That’s the real question to be explored and explained,” said Ien Suzio, an Eversource customer.
Eversource said the rate hike was partially because the state made an agreement to purchase power from Dominion Millstone Nuclear Power Plant at higher costs to keep the plant running.
PURA is investigating the rate increase and is still accepting written comments via email at email@example.com