Blumenthal fighting rate increase

Nick Rees Dec. 10, 2009, 4:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has said he will fight a requested $210 million rate request from Connecticut Light & Power that will erase an expected 5 percent rate decrease.

Connecticut Light & Power has asked the Department of Public Utility Control to approve a $210 million rate hike and defer collection until 2011. Customer charges fall significantly in 2011 as bonds tied to deregulation will largely be paid off by then. That decrease would be effectively erased by the power company's proposed rate increase, which adds new charges for distribution improvements, leaving rates unchanged instead of decreasing.

Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, as part of deregulation, had been required by the state to sell their power plants and become transmission and distribution companies. Bonds were issued by the state to cover the ratepayers' unpaid share of the cost of the plants that were sold. These bonds are expected to be almost paid off as of 2011.

"Just when recession-racked consumers and businesses see a glimmer of light, CL&P wants to lengthen the tunnel," Blumenthal said.

"CL&P is seeking to rip the rug from under consumers at the instant they shed the crushing burden of these bonds. CL&P's proposal stomps out hopes for lower rates, hurting Connecticut's competitiveness and clobbering consumers yet again.

If Connecticut Light & Power's rate increase proposal is not accepted, the charges for an average customer are expected to drop by 5 percent in 2011.

"Memo to CL&P: the recession is far from over," Blumenthal said. "The company must continue tightening its belt as its customers tighten theirs. The DPUC has properly rejected requests to increase rates during the recession, and I urge it continuing doing so. I will fight to preserve this much needed and long overdue rate decrease."

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