HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a brief on Monday calling for the rejection of a proposed water rate hike.

Aquarion Water Company's proposed $31 million rate, the attorney general says, is excessive and unwarranted. Blumenthal's brief urges the state Department of Public Utility Control not to approve the rate.

"Aquarion is living in an alternate financial universe -increasing salaries, benefits, bonuses and income when its consumers face unemployment or salary cuts," Blumenthal said.

"The DPUC should entirely reject this $31 million rate increase, which is loaded with excessive and unnecessary costs at the worst possible economic time."

If the water rate hike goes through, it would increase rates by $31 million in each of the next three years.

According to his brief, Blumenthal doesn't believe the company has explained why such a large increase is necessary. He adds that Aquarion overstated its expenses.

"In this declining economy, the DPUC should lower and not increase Aquarion's rates," Blumenthal said.

"Connecticut's utility ratepayers have endured unprecedented and punishing rate hikes over the past four years. Connecticut's electricity prices alone have doubled and are currently the highest in the continental United States."

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