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Public hearing for CT gas companies' proposed rate hikes

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Friday, February 16, 2024   

Today is the final public hearing for Connecticut ratepayers to comment on two proposed rate increases for gas utilities.

Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Natural Gas filed for rate increases in 2023.

CNG wants to boost company revenues by $20 million with a one-year rate plan beginning November 1.

SCG is looking for something similar, to raise revenues by $41 million.

John Erlingheuser, associate state director for AARP Connecticut, said if these are approved, customers would be hit beyond their gas use.

"Connecticut Natural Gas wants to raise their customer service charge from $18 to $21.25," said Erlingheuser. "Southern Connecticut Gas wants to go from $15.64 to $21.25. And we find that to be outrageous, particularly because they'll be paying that increase before they even turn on the heater."

He noted that this affects conservation efforts as well, since people are going to pay more before using their appliances.

Even state officials aren't happy about the proposed increase. In a statement, Attorney General William Tong said they'd be too much for families to pay.

The public hearing is online, at noon, on Zoom. Comments can also be filed on the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority's online filing system, or by emailing 'Pura.ExecutiveSecretary@ct.gov.'

These are among many recent rate increases proposed in Connecticut.

Last year, Eversource and United Illuminating proposed electric rate hikes that ultimately were not approved.

Erlingheuser noted recent changes to how PURA determines whether a rate increase is warranted could be behind this.

"It's not like the traditional paradigm, where a utility gets expenses and then they fight out in PURA for a reasonable rate of return over that," said Erlingheuser. "The Legislature has charged regulators with having utilities get a rate increase based on performance -- so it's not only need, but it's also performance."

Connecticut utility rates are already some of the highest. Energy data company EnergySage finds Connecticut residents spend around $283 per month on electricity - 61% higher than the national average.



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


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