HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Aquarion cannot raise rates, and must decrease them, according to a decision released Wednesday from the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
The vote will decrease the average water bill by $67 a year.
“Aquarion is disappointed by the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority’s (PURA) final rate application decision,” the company said in a written statement to News 8. “We will evaluate the decision over the coming days and determine our next steps.”
The company said that health threats that come from aging infrastructure, lead service lines and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water can only be solved through “prudent, sustained” investment in infrastructure.
“Regrettably, PURA’s decision is silent on how to address these challenges with reduced resources,” the statement reads. “We are equally committed to delivering the modern water infrastructure essential to fulfilling that mission.”
PURA Chairman Marissa Gillett and Commissioner Michael Caron approved the decision. Vice Chairman John “Jack” Betkoski III voted against it.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong released a statement last month applauding a draft decision that would have rejected the proposed $36 million rate hike.
“Connecticut consumers have borne the burden of relentless rate increases for years now. This, finally, is a massive victory for Connecticut ratepayers,” Tong said in last month’s statement. “When Aquarion first issued its plan, I knew Connecticut consumers – especially those on fixed or limited incomes – simply couldn’t be asked to shoulder yet another costly hit to their finances, which is why I fought this proposal from the start. I thank PURA for rejecting Aquarion’s proposed hike and for protecting Connecticut families and consumers from having to pay for an excessive and unwarranted hike. I strongly urge PURA to hold firm in its conclusion as it works toward issuing a final decision on this matter in mid-March.”
Aquarion, which is owned by Eversource, planned to increase water rates by more than 30% over a three-year period for more than 236,000 customers.