Conn. (WTNH) – United Illuminating customers can expect to see a rate increase in their bills by the end of the summer, but it is likely the hike won’t be as bad as some thought after a draft decision from the state utility regulators.
United Illuminating applied to increase rates by $130 million dollars over the next three years.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), is the state agency that oversees utility companies. The agency rejected UI’s application and instead approved an increase of less than $2 million.
UI said the rate increase would allow them to build a stronger grid and improve investments in clean energy transformation. It would also be the first time UI increased its distribution rate since 2016.
In a 289-page draft decision, PURA said the English Station Power Plant in New Haven is part of the reason why UI’s application was rejected. The plant shut down in 1999 and UI was supposed to clean it up.
The decision read in part, “the company’s failure to timely and effectively remediate English Station constitutes imprudent and deficient management.”
The Office of Consumer Counsel also recommended PURA deny UI’s proposal, saying the electric company did not provide enough documentation and factual support in their application. Senator Tony Hwang agrees.
“You can’t have business as usual of increasing rates that impacts consumers without justification and without performance of the service that is essential to our community,” he said.
A spokesperson with UI said, “We are reviewing PURA’s draft decision issued on Friday and we look forward to filing comments on August 3.”
It’s unclear how much the average customer’s bill will go up. Some customers believe their bill is already too high and would hate to see any type of increase.
“It would be tough, really tough because you’re talking about cost of living increases on social security and that not being that much, if you go over that, its really going to affect our budget,” said Richard Wheatley, a UI customer from Hamden.
“The cost of living in Connecticut in general is super expensive so when you increase the United illuminating bill, it’s an added crush to everything you’re trying to do,” said New Haven UI customer Tanisha Crandell.
PURA is expected to release a final decision on an increase on August 25. Once approved, new rates will take effect in September.