Connecticut overhauls rules for electricity rate increases following PURA investigation

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut regulators have imposed what they call sweeping changes to how electricity rate increases are proposed and approved.

Wednesday’s action was in response to an uproar by customers over substantially higher bills they received over the summer. The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has approved new rules for electricity distributors Eversource and United Illuminating.

The agency says the changes will help prevent dramatic bill increases, ensure rates more accurately reflect costs, and curb overcharging by the companies. Officials with the two utilities say they’re reviewing the new rules.

What can’t be promised is that Wednesday’s decision will translate into a meaningful reduction in customers’ bills.

PURA Chairman Marissa Gillett told News 8, “What I can provide out of today’s decision is that it’s gonna provide transparency and more stability. And that’s because the delivery rates that are the subject of today’s decision are recouping public policy costs that are mandated by the general assembly and overseen in some cases by the federal government.”

PURA’s jurisdiction, Gillett explained, is limited to how those costs translate into rates, and how the utilities are recovering them, and when.

“Today’s decisions addressed the delivery portion of a customer’s bill. So, right now if you look at your electric bill, it’s broken down into a supply and delivery portion,” she said.

As a quasi-judicial state agency, Gillett said, PURA can only make decisions based on evidence put before them. So customers are encouraged to continue to contact them with concerns.

State officials suspended higher rates for Eversource that took effect in July after receiving a flood of customer complaints.

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