UI Seeks Rate Hike

From Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register.

Release of the plan to the public came just hours before PURA held a public hearing on that $100 million rate increase in Bridgeport Thursday night. A second hearing is scheduled for Monday in New Haven at the city’s Hall of Records.

One of the founders of Fight The Hike, a group created to oppose previous increases, called UI’s latest proposal “absurd.”

“I think they are out of their minds,” said Frank Panzarella, a New Haven resident who helped found the grass-roots group along with his wife, Paula. “It’s absolutely absurd for them to expect ratepayers to pay for this; it’s just unrealistic given the state of Connecticut’s economy and how much people are suffering already. UI should have been making these improvements all along.”

Elin Swanson Katz, Connecticut’s Consumer Counsel, who represents the state’s utility customers in rate increase hearings said she is determined to make sure the company receives “what it needs and only what it needs.”

Full story here.

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7 comments

  1. Why does this article say, “release of the plan to the public came just hours before PURA held the public hearing?” I have had a flyer on this since September 1st. The hearing was always planned, was it the details this article is referring to? Or is New Haven late to the punch? Curious.

    1. FROM THE NH REGISTER ARTICLE. “UI already has submitted the plan to PURA. The plan to accelerate the improvements to UI’s distribution network is separate from a $100 million rate hike request the utility filed this summer and hopes to begin recovering from ratepayers over a three-year period starting in 2017.”

  2. With all the extra costs coming through, you will either have to have a six-figure income or be on state aid to live in Bridgeport. That is a strategy for disaster.

  3. There are laws on the books in Connecticut (and every other state) governing the amount of profits that can be realized by state-chartered public utility monopolies, such as UI. Such public utilities are allowed to realize net income definable in terms of “normal profits” (inflation plus a nominal % above inflation).

    This statute is usually ignored in Connecticut and is hard to pin down because of the occult accounting practices of the utilities (in a context of extravagant lobbying/legal spending, executive pay padding, as well as corporate “patronage” contract awards/remuneration levels).

    The utility companies and state regulators/state government have a notoriously incestuous, corrupt relationship, with the friends and family of the politically connected traveling back and forth between utility-related, corporate and state-government jobs. These waters have become muddier than ever under Dan Malloy since he created the DEEP super agency.

    There desperately needs to be a study undertaken to examine state utility costs in the context of spending practices by the utilities in the context of their rate charges that allow profits to be realized that are in great excess of the statutorily allowed “normal profits.” I believe if this situation were to be examined through an exhaustive forensic accounting/economic study, it would be found that Connecticut ratepayers would be owed huge refunds. And the mystery of Connecticut’s ridiculous/destructive public utility rates would be solved.

    Are either of our state senators or five state representatives up to initiating/leading this investigation? Bridgeporters host the region’s public utility infrastructure and thereby suffer the most from the monopolistic injustice perpetrated by these companies under state auspices. Are our GA members going to step up to the plate since they didn’t even show at the hearing in Bridgeport last night? (And they want our votes in November?!)

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