HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced his office will pursue an investigation into whether local gas companies can lay off workers.

The announcement was made after Connecticut Natural Gas/Southern Connecticut Gas threatened to lay off workers after the state's governing utilities board cut the companies interest rates, according to Blumenthal.

Earlier this summer, Department of Public Utility Control reduced CNG's rates 4.2 percent and SCG's rates by 3.2 percent over allegations the company's profits exceeded the 10 percent state-mandated profit they are allowed to earn.

Blumenthal added that while the large profit earnings occurred, company CEO Robert N. Allessio made $869,817. According to the State, $748,480 of Allessio's salary was paid for by Connecticut taxpayers.

"A Labor Day message from gas companies to workers and consumers: You're fired. The layoffs endanger service, reliability and safety, and flagrantly flout rate orders that presume necessary employee and payroll levels," Blumenthal said.

"It is greedily seeking unnecessary layoffs at a time of record unemployment solely to fatten its bottom line, even as the CEO earns outrageously overinflated compensation paid mostly by ratepayers."

Blumenthal said local unions, as well as the state's Consumer Counsel Department, have also agreed to investigate the layoffs.
Under state law, the DPUC regulates and sets utility company rates and profit levels.

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