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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

State Report: Budget Raid On Energy Funds Hurting Connecticut Economy

The energy board’s co-chairs are hoping to convince legislative leaders of the need to restore at least some of the money lost during last year’s budget “raids.” But they know it won’t be easy in this grim budget climate. “I think there’s support for trying to roll back some of the fund raids,” said William Dornbos, a co-chair of the energy panel and Connecticut director for the activist group Acadia Center. “But it’s definitely going to be an uphill battle,” he said.

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.

New England Power Grid Operator Budgets Soaring

According to Ludlow, inflation of 3-4 percent a year accounted for a good portion of that 30 percent rise in ISO-New England’s budget over five years. U.S. Inflation Calculator.com estimates that the period actually averaged 1.6 percent annual inflation. “It raises real questions for me,” William Dornbos, the Connecticut director of the energy activist group Acadia Center, said of the 30 percent rise in ISO-New England’s revenue over five years.

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.

 

Solar is again the flashpoint in CT’s new energy strategy

“This is radically anti-consumer and, ironically, at odds with the grid modernization recommendations of the CES that want to explore integrating smart meters, efficiency and demand response, storage, solar, and other customer-sited resources for numerous grid benefits, including peak-demand management,” said Bill Dornbos, advocacy director and senior attorney for the regional environmental group Acadia Center, which in December spearheaded a statement of principles by energy and environmental activists.

Read the full article from the CT Mirror here.

Connecticut Solar Companies Pinched By New Tariffs On Foreign Panels

While solar businesses and advocates say the tariffs will cost jobs and renewable energy projects across the country, they may also dampen a market already shaken by a proposed update to Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy. “The need is to grow the solar market in Connecticut and deploy solar at a faster rate,” said William Dornbos, advocacy director and senior attorney of the Acadia Center. “The draft energy strategy in combination with the federal solar tariff are almost exactly the wrong set of things for doing that. Certainly, they’re going to throw up barriers.”

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.

Connecticut Environmentalists Urge Grass-Roots Campaign To Block Trump’s Pick for EPA

Activist groups represented at Monday’s event included Environment Connecticut, the Sierra Club, the Connecticut Audubon Society, Citizens Campaign for the Environment and the energy watchdog group Acadia Center.

William Dornbos, Connecticut director for the Acadia Center, said Pruitt as EPA head would “have a real impact on Connecticut” by restricting access to key air and water pollution records. “Connecticut could lose fundamental resources even without a law being passed,” Dornbos said.

Read the full article from the Hartford Courant here.