Blumenthal asks DPUC to reject utility rate hike

Drew Smith Nov. 25, 2008, 6:53am

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has asked the Department of Utility Control (DPUC)
to reject locally-based United Illuminating's request for an $81.5 million
rate increase.

The proposed increase would take place over a two-year period and would represent a 4.5 percent rate hike in 2009 and 4.4 percent in 2010.

United Illuminating is also asking for a 4 percent raise for employees, a 10 percent increase in the size of its workforce and a 1 percent increase in its profit margin.

"This rate hike request is customer relations spelled backward -- an overstuffed, outlandish proposal when consumers and our economy can least afford it," the Democratic attorney general said. "It is unnecessary and unconscionable, imposing pain on customers for gain to company profits and executive paychecks. The right response is a rate cut, not a hike. UI must make do with less, just as its customers are doing."

Blumenthal is calling on DPUC to not only reject the increase, but also to cut the company's utility rates by $10.3 million next year, cap all raises at 3 percent and lower its allowable profit margin from 9.75 to 9.5 percent.

"It is difficult to imagine worse timing or more difficult circumstances for the consideration of UI's request for such a massive rate increase. As a result, Connecticut consumers -- who already bear some of the highest electricity rates in the United States -- face very difficult and uncertain times," Blumenthal said.

Earlier this year, Blumenthal was successful in getting DPUC to slash the utility rates of Southern Connecticut Gas by $15.1 million.

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