Eversource discussed borrowing $700-million to offset losses from Tropical Storm Isaias, lower rates

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BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Eversource Energy is asking state lawmakers to amend a law, which would allow the company to borrow $700 million from Wall Street to help recover from the impact of losses from Tropical Storm Isaias, according to the Hartford Courant.

Eversource also says both the COVID-19 pandemic and having to roll back its recent rate increase contribute to its losses.

RELATED: Eversource continues clean-up efforts in Branford following late August storm

The ask comes a week before the General Assembly is expected to hold a Special Session on bipartisan legislation to come up with a new system of performance-based rate setting.

Eversource is seeking to spread out the impact over time through borrowing in what the company would call ‘rate reduction bonds.’

When Eversource reached out to lawmakers about borrowing that $700 million from Wall Street, they said, “Securitization of these costs will reduce customer rate impacts by 65% over the next six years.”

The utility company has been under fire this summer for raising rate prices, claiming COVID-19 and the summer heatwave increased service and drove up costs.

Eversource was also scrutinized for what some lawmakers and customers believe to be a sluggish response to restoring power to around 1 million homes and businesses after Isaias. Some customers did not have power for nine days.

PURA is currently investigating how Eversource and United Illuminating responded to the tropical storm, which left over one million customers in the dark between both companies.

When asked about the proposal, Governor Ned Lamont’s office told the Courant, “Gov. Lamont remains focused on supporting legislation that holds our utilities accountable and protecting ratepayers.”

Mitch Gross, of Eversource, said in a statement:

“We are committed to working with legislators and regulators to develop creative solutions to reduce rate impacts on our customers. One possible solution is to take the costs associated with recent, and future, rate increases, and spread them over 20 years. This approach would provide immediate rate relief to customers during this unprecedented time of COVID-19.”

Mitch Gross, Eversource Spokesman

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