Conn. AG to fight proposed utility rate increase

Nick Rees Jan. 11, 2010, 1:00pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has vowed to fight a proposed 5 percent rate increase by Connecticut Light & Power.

At the beginning of 2011, Connecticut Light & Power's rates are set to fall as taxpayers will have largely completed paying off bonds related to deregulation, Blumenthal said, adding that customers have already paid approximately $2 billion in stranded costs from the penny per kilowatt hour charged on monthly electric bills though that bond.

"I will fight this ill-timed, ill-conceived rate increase, clobbering consumers as they struggle to make ends meet," Blumenthal said.

"Message to CL&P: We're still in recession, and we already have among the highest electricity rates in the nation. Consumers coping with job losses and stagnant wages desperately need lower power prices. CL&P must do what its customers are doing: tighten its belt.

The decrease from the bond's ending would amount to $7 less per month for 1.2 million customers. The proposed increase from Connecticut Light & Power would be approximately equal to this decrease.

A Connecticut Light & Power spokesman said that this newest increase is needed to maintain power poles, substations and wires.

"CL&P's rate hike would be backbreaking for small businesses - the engine of job creation - as well as consumers," Blumenthal said.

"I will battle this rate increase, preserving a long overdue rate decrease that consumers expect and deserve."

This new rate request comes shorty after Connecticut Light & Power's rates have already fallen 5.2 percent, owing largely in part to policies already enacted at Blumenthal's urging.

The last distribution-related rate increase asked for by Connecticut Light & Power came in 2008 when the company, after asking for $198 million, was approved for $77.8 million in that year and $20 million in 2009.

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