Connecticut Lawmakers Call On Regulators To Reject Utility’s Hike Request

Two members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation are urging state regulators to reject most of a request by Connecticut Light & Power to charge customers $414 million for costs related to five storms over the past two years. In a letter to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Senator Richard Blumenthal and 2nd District Congressman Joe Courtney said Connecticut Light & Power’s responses in particular to Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm in 2011, were deemed inadequate and deficient, even by state regulators. Blumenthal says CL&P’s request just adds insult to injury.
“Consumers went without power for seven, days or more, and now are asked to pay extra in their rates. In fact, their rates should be reduced. So the utility should find the money elsewhere to reimburse itself for whatever its extra costs were.”
But CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross says the utility is allowed to recover storm-related costs, like bringing in outside line and tree workers, replacing damaged equipment and staffing the around-the-clock response effort.
“While we recognize there’s always room for improvement in responding to storm emergencies, and that our response could have been better in 2011, preparing for and responding to such devastating storms is very expensive.”
The two lawmakers also asked regulators to withhold ratepayer funds for other storm responses until Northeast Utilities, CL&P’s parent company, reveals the compensation of executives at NStar, the Boston-based utility that NU bought for $5 billion last year. Gross says NU has already agreed to provide that information to Massachusetts officials, and will do the same for Connecticut regulators if requested. Under the proposal, CL&P customers would see an average $3 monthly increase in their bill for 6 years starting in December 2014.