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Connecticut regulators cut UI rate hike request

Bill Dornbos, the Connecticut director of the Acadia Center, said the reduction of the fixed-rate service charge is a crucial step to protect consumers and encouraging renewable energy. The Acadia Center is a Boston-based environmental group,

“The new rate design will also help promote energy efficiency and … more closely aligning the state’s electric rate structure with its energy policy,” Dornbos said in a statement.

Read the full article from the New Haven Register here.

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.

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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.