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Municipalities who own power plants not zapped by electricity price hikes

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WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Eversource is under fire from regulators. They have until the end of the week to roll back their rate hike to June’s pricing. Meanwhile, customers in several towns around the state are not affected by the hike. That’s because more than 100,000 households get power from someone else.

Oppressive heat is not a problem when you have a cool pool. Sky-high electric bills are not a problem when you have a municipally-owned power company serving you.

RELATED: State regulatory agency orders Eversource to return rates to pre-hike numbers

“We love our electric!” The Brooder family in Wallingford told News 8 Monday. They are one of the 25,000 customers of the town’s public utility which covers the towns of Wallingford and Northford.

Sue Brooder’s family is not part of the Eversource controversy involving price hikes and protests.

“We have family who live one town over in Meriden and their bill went up $600 this month,” she said. “That’s outrageous! We are very lucky.”

“We get lots of compliments for our service and rates,” said Wallingford Public Utility’s General Manager Tony Buccheri.

Buccheri says Wallingford’s power company has been delivering low-cost electricity for more than 100 years.

They have the rights to the territory in their town boundary. Energy New England is their power purchase consultant and negotiates supplier agreements, allowing them to charge pennies per kilowatt-hour.

Buccheri says replicating this in other towns would be expensive: “Towns would have to invest in their own utilities, poles, wires substations, hire resources to run a utility plant.”

There are five municipally-owned power companies around the state: Groton Utilities, Bozrah Light & Power, Norwich Public Utilities, South Norwalk Electric and Water, Wallingford Department of Public Utilities – Electric Division.

Wallingford’s utility is governed by local commissioners appointed by the mayor, and they hire a consultant to assess pricing every three years.

You have to live in those communities to tap into the power. The Patton family says reliable service at an affordable price has been a godsend in the pandemic.

“We’re home now more often since March,” Kerry Patton told News 8. “It’s been working out fine. No plans to move. We are staying still for a while.”

State regulators at the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority are continuing to investigate Eversource and the reason for the price hikes. A public hearing is scheduled for the end of the month on Monday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.

Meantime, you can compare rates and choose a Connecticut Energy Supplier here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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