HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority filed comments on Monday challenging multimillion dollar incentives ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

They allege that the federal incentives come at the expense of utility ratepayers for the construction of new, high-voltage electric transmission facilities.

The comments were filed with FERC in Washington, D.C., and were endorsed by the attorneys general in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Illinois and Delaware, the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, utility regulatory commissions in all of the New England states, municipal utilities and consumer representatives. The congressional delegation of Connecticut also sent a letter in support of the comments.

FERC had asked for public comments about whether its policy of granting incentives for this type of construction is appropriate given changes in the electric industry and its "ongoing need to ensure that our incentives, regulations and policies are encouraging the development of transmission infrastructure."

"In recent years, New England has led the way in its commitment to investing in new transmission facilities," Jepsen said. "But New England consumers have been unfairly burdened by costly incentive rates added onto the already tremendous price tag for building those facilities - often in circumstances where the inducements were probably unnecessary and therefore wasteful."

Transmission owners, including United Illuminating Co. and Connecticut Light & Power Co. in Conn., recover their cost of investment through rates. Transmission projects that are necessary to upgrade the reliability of the electric grid in New England are determined by ISO-New England, the regional grid operator.

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