Blumenthal: Rate request slash not deep enough

John O'Brien Nov. 20, 2007, 1:23pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was not pleased by a recent decision from the state's Department of Public Utility Control.

Monday, Blumenthal criticized the DPUC for its preliminary decision to cut Aquarion Water Co.'s requested rate increase by only half.

"The DPUC must chop down -- not just prune -- Aquarion's colossal rate increase," Blumenthal said. "These reductions are not nearly deep enough. Ratepayers will still be slammed with double-digit increases that are unjustifiable and unacceptable.

"This rate hike deserves zero tolerance."

Aquarion requested a rate increase of 28 percent, its first such request in nearly a decade, according to a report in the Connecticut Post. It adds that Aquarion supplies water for more than 500,000 state residents.

The DPUC said it did not believe Aquarion's projected revenue, claiming it should be able to surpass it. The company has spent a significant amount to upgrade its water system since 2004.

Blumenthal thinks the company is requesting the increase to help pay bonuses for its executives.

"Funding for equipment and infrastructure improvements should not provide huge profits for the parent company at ratepayer expense," Blumenthal said. "The DPUC should scrutinize and slash unreasonable or imprudent expenditures on its plant. Bonuses should be eliminated or paid by shareholders, not customers.

"I will fight to slash the rest of the outrageous rate hike and to ensure that not a penny of ratepayer money funds executive bonuses."

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