Blumenthal: Wait on reform before signing contracts

John O'Brien May 2, 2007, 2:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wants power companies to have to wait until the state's lawmakers can change a few things before agreeing to any contracts.

Tuesday, he and Consumer Counsel Mary Healey asked the Department of Public Utility Control to hold off on awarding $300 million electricity capacity contracts until the General Assembly has had a chance to enact reform.

"These contracts are a gargantuan giveaway, forcing ratepayers to throw millions of dollars at generators with no guarantee of lower rates," Blumenthal said. "Under these agreements, ratepayers assume all the risk, but powerful power companies reap all the benefit."

And Blumenthal's tactics are aimed at taking some of that "power." He wants the DPUC to put off the contracts until June 6, when the General Assembly's next session ends.

"We are asking the DPUC to postpone these contracts so the legislators can pass reforms reining in skyrocketing power prices," he said. "We need legislation to make lower prices a guarantee instead of a guess. we muss slash astronomic prices and reform our dysfunctional system."

In January, Blumenthal was one of eight out of 125 parties who did not accept an energy settlement proposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Blumenthal hoped to end a surcharge imposed on ratepayers that would encourage the construction of new power plants.

He and then-Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly opposed the agreement, with Blumenthal claiming it broke the law and the economy.

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