Blumenthal wants rate increase rejected

Nick Rees Apr. 27, 2010, 10:28am


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday called on the Department of Public utility Control to reject a proposal by a utility to increase rates by $210 million.

The rate increase proposal by Connecticut Light & Power, Blumenthal said, would effectively eliminate an expected 5 percent rate decrease scheduled for early next year. The rate decrease will follow the completion of payment of certain bonds next year.

"CL&P is trying to deprive 1.2 million customers -- many of them small struggling businesses -- of a long-overdue rate decrease when ratepayer bonds are finally paid off," Blumenthal said. "When small businesses, our state's most critical employment engine, are trying to dig out of debt, CL&P is throwing dirt back into the hole."

The DPUC, Blumenthal said, should reject CL&P's rate increase and reduce rates by as much as $330 million over the next year instead. The company still has the means to increase its proposed spending levels for necessary reliability projects with the rate reduction, Blumenthal said.

"CL&P has the means to continue operating at current staffing -- and even increase spending on reliability projects -- without this $210 million rate increase," Blumenthal said.

"This company can afford to maintain employees, profits and reliability projects -- but customers simply cannot afford a rate increase at this time. The DPUC should set CL&P's rates at levels absolutely no more than sufficient to provide safe and reliable service -- and the opportunity to earn a reasonable return."

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