Blumenthal

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut's Attorney General and Department of Public Utility Control have similar views regarding a recently proposed rate increase.

The DPUC on Monday told United Illuminating that it is rejecting a settlement that would have increased the monthly bills of residents and businesses.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had spoken out against a UI rate increase that was approved by the DPUC and went into effect last week. UI is charging commercial users 25 percent more and residential users 2 percent more. Blumenthal called it "devastating."

Monday, he was happy UI's settlement was shot down.

"I am pleased the DPUC agreed with my argument that it should reject United Illuminating's rate increase request," Blumenthal said. "This decision is a victory for consumers and businesses struggling to cope with skyrocketing gasoline and power prices.

"At a time when ratepayers are tightening their belts, UI must do the same."

On June 28, UI announced an agreement with Connecticut Industrial Energy Consumers that would have allowed it to recover additional funds from ratepayers to make up for UI's lost sales, increased uncollectables and capital expenditures since 2006.

The company said its sales by 2009 will be down 7 percent because of its last rate increase.

"Ratepayers have made it clear that they just can't endure relentless increases to their electric bills," said John W. Betkoski, Vice-Chairman of the DPUC. "While we all understand that some increases are unavoidable, it would be imprudent and unconscionable for the Department to approve a settlement between UI and a party representing a fraction of ratepayers, which would then be charged to all ratepayers."

Today the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) notified United Illuminating (UI) that it was rejecting a settlement proposed by the utility that would have resulted in an increase in their monthly ratepayer bills.

UI proposed a settlement that would have allowed the utility to recover additional funds from ratepayers to make up for the utility's lost sales, increased uncollectables and capital expenditures since the utility's four year rate plan was approved in 2006.

"Ratepayers have made it clear that they just can't endure relentless increases to their electric bills," said John W. Betkoski, Vice-Chairman of the DPUC.

"While we all understand that some increases are unavoidable, it would be imprudent and unconscionable for the Department to approve a settlement between UI and a party representing a fraction of ratepayers, which would then be charged to all ratepayers."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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