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State Regulators Urged to Pump Brakes on Eversource Rate Hike

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Power bill blues? The average U.S. retail price for one Kilowatt-hour of electricity is 10.54 cents. But in Connecticut, it's 18.66 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Adobe Stock)
Power bill blues? The average U.S. retail price for one Kilowatt-hour of electricity is 10.54 cents. But in Connecticut, it's 18.66 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Adobe Stock)
 By Michayla Savitt, Public News Service - CT - Producer, Contact
March 5, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A rate hike that amounts to more than $12 for the average monthly household power bill in Connecticut is getting some pushback.

The electric-rate increase request filed by Eversource Energy Monday is prompting groups to speak out against adding the charge to households already struggling to pay bills in the recession caused by the pandemic.

John Erlingheuser, advocacy director for AARP Connecticut, cited bad timing for the request, and thinks the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), should deny it.

"Now is not the time to implement another rate increase on top of all of that burden," Erlingheuser asserted. "And those that are on low incomes are being put in a position of having to make a choice between paying for food and medicine, or paying extremely high electric bills that we have here in Connecticut."

One-third of Connecticut residents are already having trouble paying their household costs, according to an ongoing survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Eversource said the rate hike is needed to cover the fluctuating costs of the energy it has to purchase, and noted it has programs in place to help anyone who has trouble paying their bill.

PURA rolled back an Eversource price hike in July of last year.

Erlingheuser said AARP Connecticut is submitting formal comments to the agency about the two new rate adjustments, and plans to make its thousands of members over age 50 aware of them.

"The economic situation hasn't changed, and for many people, it's gotten worse," Erlingheuser contended. "So, we're going to continue the fight."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports Connecticut has the third-highest average energy costs in the United States, after only Hawaii and Alaska.

PURA is expected to make a decision on the Eversource proposal around the end of April.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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