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State Officials Criticize CL&P’s Proposed Fee Hike

by | Aug 26, 2014 4:00pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Energy, Environment

istockphoto Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal urged state regulators Tuesday to reject a request by Connecticut Light & Power to increase a flat monthly fee on customers by nearly 60 percent.

In separate letters, Malloy and Blumenthal expressed their concern to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority about the 59 percent increase in a monthly service charge. If its application is approved, CL&P could increase the monthly charge from $16 to $25.50. The fee increase would apply regardless of energy consumption.

“Such a step is completely contrary to Connecticut’s energy policy, unfairly penalizes those who use the least electricity and unduly burdens small businesses and people on low or fixed incomes,” Malloy wrote.

In his letter, Blumenthal said the state’s energy rates were already too high.

“Connecticut electric rates are already among the highest in the United States — fifth highest according to the federal Energy Information Administration — and ratepayers cannot afford the additional burden imposed by CL&P’s rate request,” he wrote.

Mitch Gross, a spokesman for CL&P, said the rate request was necessary for the utility to make investment’s in the state’s electricity infrastructure.

“Last year, reliability was better than it’s been in over a decade due to the targeted system improvements and replacements we have made in our system. At the same time, we have worked hard to control our own operating costs, which have resulted in savings for customers,” he said in a statement.
Gross said it was important to remember that customer feedback would be part of PURA’s review process.

But Blumenthal and Malloy also objected to a proposal by CL&P to increase its rate of return from 9.4 to 10.2 cents per dollar. In his letter, Malloy commended the company for making infrastructure investments following major power outages caused by a devastating winter storm in 2011 and Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

“While these investments are both necessary and appreciated, we are living in a time of low interest rates and lower returns on investments, as anyone with a savings account or an IRA knows. In the current economic environment, we do not need to further burden rate payers by increasing CL&P’s rate of return beyond what residents can expect in their own investments,” Malloy wrote.

During a press conference at the Legislative Office Building, Blumenthal called the rate request the most “outrageous” and “unfair” in his memory. State Consumer Counsel Elin Katz called the flat rate increase an “enormous jump” in an already-high fee.

CL&P has proposed to raise the fee to $25.50 a month. Katz said that far exceeds the rates in nearby areas. She said the fixed charge in the Boston area is $6.43 a month. In Western Massachusetts, the fee is $6 a month and in New Hampshire it’s $12.39, she said.

“If you look at from Maine all the way down here to Connecticut, Rhode Island, we’re talking about being by far the highest charge. It’s unwarranted. It’s unmerited,” she said.

Katz said her office has advocated for the utility to reduce the fixed charge to a little more that $11 per month.

State regulators expect to have a draft decision on the utility’s requests by early December. In the meantime, PURA will hold a series of public comment hearings on the proposed increases. A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in New Britain with another in Stamford on Thursday. A third hearing will be held in New London on Sept. 3.

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(14) Archived Comments

posted by: JohnQPublic | August 26, 2014  4:45pm

What amazing timing.  During the merger, there was a two and a half year hold on any rate increases for customers. That was back in March of 2012.

When will we start seeing some of the efficiencies that NStar was talking about?

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 26, 2014  7:18pm

Gov. Malloy is “quick to try to make political reelection hay out of this peoposed fee hike,” while Sen.Blumenthal continues with his cuatomary political grandstanding, while he ignores our major national problems.

posted by: dano860 | August 26, 2014  10:51pm

JQP, those NStar savings will happen about the same time we get all the savings from that ‘magic employee suggestion box’, the one that Dannel negotiated with the State employee union.
A while ago there was a meeting with business leaders and the State. I believe it was held by Rell, the one issue I remember coming out of it was that energy in Ct was too dang expensive. Louis Chenevert was President of P&W then and he was talking about moving out of State due to that fact alone. He is now CEO of UTC and pulled off the tax film flam. Not all business’s have the ability to threaten the State with packing their bags. They will just reduce their employee needs or leave outright.
It may seem simplistic but my good friend just opened an expansion to his business in Oxford, Ma instead of expanding his original operations in Putnam, Ct. The place where he has been for the past 20 years has the property as he planned to expand there right from the start but costs drove him over the border.
Dicky and Dannel would serve us well to stop this thievery or we will see much more of this type of exodus.

posted by: art vandelay | August 27, 2014  1:18am

art vandelay

Dear Senator Blumenthal,
Four years ago you became a US Senator representing the State of Connecticut. Stop acting like you’re Connecticut’s Attorney General, and start acting like a US Senator.

posted by: PaulW | August 27, 2014  8:36am

CL&P’s problem isn’t storm damage, it’s incompetence and greed bordering on criminality.  It’s not like the rest of New England hasn’t faced weather challenges.

A few years ago (after the storm before Sandy) a crew from New Hampshire was working in my neighborhood.  They told me that service in Southern New Hampshire had been upgraded at least twice in the time since the equipment in my area had been installed.

posted by: One and Done | August 27, 2014  9:03am

Malloy and Blumenthal should be celebrating.  This is what their party wants.  President Obama is on the record stating that energy costs would skyrocket under his policies.  Here we are.  Their feigned outrage shows how stupid they think we are.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 27, 2014  10:54am

Malloy and Blumenthal are career politicians that only work to satisfy their own political aspirations and only give their constituents empty news media releases like this one. They overpower you with rhetoric but are in last place in producing results. They merely tell you what you want to hear. This is another criticism, but nothing accomplished effort by our headline grabbing duo, paid for at taxpayer expense.

posted by: Politijoe | August 27, 2014  5:07pm


If half the effort to bash the Ct governor and Senator from those who have posted comments on the issue of the proposed CLP rate increase were actually directed towards the PURA and CLP we might actually be able to demand the increase be denied.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 27, 2014  7:02pm

This is minor folks. I dont want another CL & P increase but seriously, what’s coming is far worse.

Todays NY Times outlines Obamas plan to go around the Constitutional requirement to get 2/3rds of the Senate to approve any Treaty as he will try to sign off on the UN Global Warming direct assault on our country this fall. If you think our economy is sputtering now, you aint seen nothing yet.

This will lead to us having to pay third world countries to help them with climate change, massive new regulations on our businesses and how energy is produced in this country which will lead to increases it what we pay far beyond this one in this article. The job loss for the US as well will be a by product not to mention a frontal assault on our soveriegnty.

If Blummie wants to be a leader he needs to break ranks with his party as some Dems certainly will and tell Obama not to do this.

Countries that dont follow the new guidelines will be shamed. Yes that’s right. “Shamed.”

I wonder how the Chinese will respond to that? Any ideas on how hard Putin will laugh when the UN “shames” Russia for not putting in all these regulations etc. Gas will go up, manufacturing costs and delivery of almost all products foods etc will go up.

This CLP thing is a done deal. They want an outrageous amount, and in the end they’ll get a smaller amount which is an amount they will be happy with, and then the pols will all stand and congratulate themselves for doing nothing since the fix is in.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 27, 2014  7:32pm

@Politjoe: Than you agree that blumental and Malloy are only politically grandstanding over this issue.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 28, 2014  8:28am

@Joebigjoe: Don’t only blame Blumenthal.  He takes his orders from Pres.Barack Obama, as a faithful servant of Obamism in action. Your vision is impaired Joe,  as you only can see through Drmocratic-party prescribed eyeglassess.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 28, 2014  11:50am

QM, I think you misread my comment. I think people would agree that I am near the top of the list on this board of people that dispise Obama, Blummie, Murphy, and then Malloy in that order.

posted by: Politijoe | August 28, 2014  3:36pm


Bigjoe, The UN Global is a holdover of the Kyoto protocol from the late 1990’s which the US backed out of as a result of carbon industry influence.
On the surface this would limit some domestic economic interest and it will foster others. The reality is the US has a smaller population but a much larger footprint-using a larger share of energy and subsequently contributing a disproportionate share towards climate change. We cannot enforce other nations to comply much like the US has not complied in the past, however as Americans we can set the standard, lead the world and make a significant difference to the greater good simply because it is the right thing to do.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 28, 2014  6:41pm

Signing on to this will cause huge job loss, take more money out of everyones pockets, increase regulation to the point where more jobs go offshore, and of course accomplish the real goal which is to bring the US standard of living more in line with the rest of the world. How dare we be industrious, productive and wealthy? How dare we have clean water while others have limited dirty water? How dare we have big screen TV’s while others get their news through word of mouth.

The fact is that when we do these things with the UN they basically take advantage of us because they’re a bunch of criminals that rarely stand with the US when they should because it would hurt their criminal enterprises that they run as leaders of some of these countries.

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