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Proposed CT Utility Rate Hike Prompts Consumer Groups' Action

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority hearings on the rate hike request begin this week.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority hearings on the rate hike request begin this week.
August 25, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. – The utility company says a rate increase is needed to keep up with everyday maintenance, but consumer advocates say Connecticut Light & Power's request is out of line.

John Erlingheuser, advocacy director AARP Connecticut, says what makes this rate hike request unusual is the fact that CL&P is seeking a major increase in fixed monthly charges for more than a million local consumers.

"Almost 50 percent increase in the fixed customer service charge,” he points out. “And it will result in a $114 a year increase in bills before you even turn on a light in your home."

The utility says it is facing skyrocketing costs and needs the money to maintain the system.

There will be a telephone town hall for AARP members today to get local consumers up to date on the rate request, which Erlingheuser says will increase the average customer's bill by $150 per year.

Erlingheuser adds the request is out of line with what CL&P sister companies charge around the nation.

"It's not appropriate,” he insists. “It will have a disproportionate impact on seniors and low usage ratepayers who already pay a larger proportion of their income towards utility rates in the first place."

Erlingheuser says a number of advocacy groups are helping get the word out.

"We're working in partnership with the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the Office of Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, to try to make sure that ratepayers’ voices are heard and they get to keep more of their hard earned dollars, rather than paying exorbitant increases in electric rates-which already in Connecticut are among the highest in the country," he says.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority hearings on the rate hike request begin this week.

The first takes place on Wednesday at the PURA office in New Britain.



Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT