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Regulator cuts Eversource rate request by more than half to $124.7M

PURA approved a fixed customer charge of $9.50, down from $19.25, which adheres to a law passed by state lawmakers in 2015.

High fixed charges burden seniors and low-income customers and reduce customers’ incentives to conserve electricity, Acadia said.

“Consumers everywhere prefer choice and control, and this lower monthly fixed charge will give customers substantially more control over their electric bills,” Bill Dornbos, Acadia Center’s advocacy director, said in a statement. “The new rate design will also help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, more closely aligning Connecticut’s electricity rates with its energy policy goals.”

Read the full article from Hartford Business here.

Eversource Customers To See Rates Rise Under PURA Decision

PURA’s decision also lowers the fixed fee Eversource customers are charged, regardless of how much electricity they use, from $19.25 to under $9.50 a month.

Katz said that reduction will primarily benefit lower-income Eversource customers and consumers that significantly reduce their electricity use. She said most residential consumers will see their overall Eversource bills rise by that $5.40 per month.

“By enacting this significant reduction, Connecticut brings the state’s residential customer charges down to levels that are comparable with national best practices and recognizes that high fixed charges run counter to consumer interests and a clean energy future,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney for the activist group Acadia Center.

The 50 percent cut in fixed charges was mandated under legislation passed by the 2015 General Assembly to limit residential customer charges.

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.

Victory for Consumers and Clean Energy in Connecticut Electric Rate Case

Approved Settlement Significantly Reduces Eversource Residential Customer Charges

HARTFORD, CT – On April 18, 2018, the Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced its decision to lower the customer charge for Eversource residential customers from $19.25 to below $9.50. This 50% reduction follows the requirements of a 2015 law enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly to limit residential customer charges, the fixed fee that customers pay regardless of the amount of energy used. Acadia Center first raised this issue in Connecticut in Eversource’s previous 2014 rate case, and, since 2015, has participated in two rate cases and a generic proceeding to ensure the proper implementation of the law.

“Connecticut has taken an important step today towards a clean and consumer-friendly energy system,” said Daniel Sosland, President of Acadia Center. “The Office of Consumer Counsel, Attorney General’s Office, and the Connecticut General Assembly have made major progress in bringing relief to Connecticut’s electric customers, and Acadia Center looks forward to working with these partners as the state moves forward with further reforms to the energy system.”

Customer charges for residential electric customers typically range from $5 to $10 a month, but in some states are significantly higher. High customer charges disproportionately burden seniors and low-income customers, who typically use less electricity than average. They also reduce the incentive for customers to lower their electricity bills through conservation, investment in energy efficiency, or renewable energy technologies like solar power. Before the implementation of the new law, Connecticut’s residential customer charges for its two major utilities were $19 per month and $19.25 per month respectively.

Bill Dornbos, Acadia Center’s Advocacy Director, said, “Consumers everywhere prefer choice and control, and this lower monthly fixed charge will give customers substantially more control over their electric bills. The new rate design will also help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, more closely aligning Connecticut’s electricity rates with its energy policy goals.”

“By enacting this significant reduction, Connecticut brings the state’s residential customer charges down to levels that are comparable with national best practices and recognizes that high fixed charges run counter to consumer interests and a clean energy future,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney for Acadia Center. “This is a significant step at a time when states around the country, including neighboring New York, are debating how to move forward on this important issue.”


Media Contacts:

Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney
mlebel@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x104

Krysia Wazny, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x107

Commenters Seek Broader Response on Millstone

Kerry Schlichting of the Acadia Center said that because the study results could influence Connecticut’s long-term energy strategy, her organization asked DEEP and PURA to “issue a draft methodology and base case scenario sometime this fall for stakeholder review and comment” before the release of the draft report in early December. If the agencies wait too long it will be difficult to incorporate stakeholder feedback on modeling issues, she said.

Read the full article from RTO Insider here.

Connecticut Rules in Favor of Consumers and Clean Energy in Electric Rate Case

Hartford, Conn.– Acadia Center applauds the announcement today by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) of its decision to dramatically lower the fixed charge for United Illuminating’s residential customers from $17.25 to $9.64. This 45% reduction represents a crucial step in implementing a new law enacted by the legislature last year to limit fixed charges, which customers pay monthly regardless of how much energy they use.

Bill Dornbos, Director of Acadia Center’s Connecticut Office, said, “Consumers everywhere prefer choice and control, and this lower monthly fixed charge will give customers substantially more control over their electric bills. The new rate design will also help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, more closely aligning the state’s electric rate structure with its energy policy.”

By enacting this significant reduction, Connecticut brings UI’s fixed charge down to the levels of surrounding states and recognizes that high fixed charges run counter to consumer interests, leading the nation at a time when utilities around the country are petitioning for significantly higher fixed charges.

Acadia Center thanks the PURA, Office of Consumer Counsel, Attorney General’s Office, and the legislature for their contributions to bringing this relief to UI’s electric customers.

 

Contacts:

Bill Dornbos, Senior Attorney and Director, Connecticut Office
860-246-7121 x202, wdornbos@acadiacenter.org

Mark LeBel, Staff Attorney
617.742.0054 x104, mlebel@acadiacenter.org

Environmental, consumer groups call on Connecticut regulators to cut UI rate

The groups making the request include such environmental groups as the Acadia Center and the Sierra Club, as well as consumer groups including AARP Connecticut and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

[…]

Bill Dornbos, Connecticut director and senior attorney at Acadia Center, said reducing UI’s current fixed charge for residential customers “would not only give immediate relief to Connecticut homeowners who are struggling with high energy costs, but it would also better align our electricity pricing with our energy efficiency and clean energy policies and help grow clean energy industries that can boost Connecticut’s economy.”

Fixed-rate charges became a hot topic among Connecticut lawmakers in 2014 when Connecticut Light & Power, now known as Eversource Energy, sought to raise its monthly rate. PURA ultimately allowed an increase in the fixed charge for Eversource’s residential customers to $19.25 per month, currently the highest residential fixed charge for any investor-owned electric utility in New England.

State lawmakers responded by passing a new consumer protection law, enacted in 2015, that requires PURA to apply a new standard to fixed charges. Dornbos said passage of the law “made it clear that they (lawmakers) wanted to see fixed charges capped and reduced.”

“They clearly did not want the status quo to continue,” he said.

Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel has offered expert testimony concluding that UI’s residential fixed charge should be reduced to between $6 and $8 per month to comply with the new law’s requirements, Dornbos said,

“I think the public is going to be very disappointed if that is not the outcome,” he said.

Read the full article from the New Haven Register here.