Mayor Bill Finch Thursday night opposed a rate increase proposed by United Illuminating at a public hearing hosted by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. The public hearing took place in City Council Chambers. UI is asking the regulatory agency for permission to increase revenues by 8.7 percent to $69 million in 2014 and by another $26 million the following year.
Finch has had a scratchy relationship with UI that includes disagreement over responsibility for covering the costs of burying power lines at the Steel Point redevelopment area. City officials say it’s UI’s responsibility. The utility says it should cover only above-ground costs. This dispute, in part, has delayed the groundbreaking for Bass Pro Shops as the anchoring tenant.
“It is clear that steps must be taken to minimize the effects of tidal and storm surge at substation sites,” said Finch in a statement. “Electrical service plays an integral role in the safety and quality of life of our residents. However, I do not believe that our residents, the same residents who were left in the dark for 10-12 days following Hurricane Sandy, should be the ones who have to shoulder the costs of these much-needed improvements.”
Finch encouraged residents to attend and voice their concerns about the proposed rate increase.
Comments can also be sent to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), according to the mayor’s office. To send in testimony about the UI rate increase, include reference to Docket No. 13-01-19, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051. (800) 382-4586, (860) 827-1553, email@example.com.
On this issue I am in agreement with the mayor.
Will he speak up against our tax hike and raises for the cabinet? Did not think so.
Well, I don’t think our residents, the same people who are left in the dark and left behind by the Finch administration, should have to pay for Finch’s failures with a tax increase. I think he’ll have about as much luck with UI as Bridgeport has had with him. Zip.
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Finch will now know what it feels like talking to a panel that will do what they have to do. How does it feel talking to a brick wall, Finch? Practice what you will preach at that meeting.
Pat Fardy, good point. Now Finch will see what it is like when the residents of Bridgeport question him and he pays NO attention to them.
Bill needs a fuel cell brain transplant.
I agree with the Mayor on this issue. Connecticut has the second highest utility rates in the country! However the Mayor would have a lot more credibility if he were cutting spending to avoid a tax increase in Bridgeport. Just another “do as I say rather than as I do” politician.
There is a lot the Mayor does I do not agree with, but why criticize him when he is doing the right thing?
I didn’t see any of you at the hearing speaking up on behalf of the citizens of Bridgeport.
I would have been happy to testify had I been in town. I had a longstanding commitment to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R) and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D) on our federal fiscal challenge and how to address it. I appreciate the Mayor testifying against the increase and thank him for doing so. My main point was he would have a lot more credibility if he practiced what he preaches. Did he have specific suggestions regarding how to cut costs for UI? I and others have given him and the Council plenty of suggestions regarding how to cut City spending and avoid a tax increase. We’ll see if they adopt them. In addition, the real question for UI and other CT utilities is why are rates per KW hour about twice as high as Northern Virginia and what need to be done to reduce rather than increase them? These rates are a major competitive disadvantage for CT. Shockingly, CT is the only state in the union that has not added a single net new private-sector job since 1990. Check out the “Connecticut at Risk” report at www .keepingamericagreat.org.
If you take a look at the KWH charges on your bill, you will see the generation charges are less than 1/2 of the bill. The energy generation is the only part you can shop for a competitive rate. It is the delivery charges that are so expensive, and those charges are paid to UI no matter who your actual supplier is. And it is an increase to the delivery charges UI is seeking. One way to lower the charges is to lower UI’s profit margin from the 8% or so it currently is.
Thanks for your comment. I realize that but the total charge per KWH will be about double what we paid in Northern Virginia. Why is that? What can be done about it? Who protects the consumer?
Thank you, Mayor.
Appreciate your Electricity 101 attempt at informing the public. Might have had more effect had you taken the opportunity to post the info in advance of the meeting. It might have caused more citizens to participate by attending, and even speaking up. What a revolutionary concept!
The Mayor has a major issue staring at him. We need to do the infrastructure for Steelepointe in a timely fashion, and putting it below street level is more expensive than above. Costs money! Who will pay? Sticking point. So I will spout the words of a consumer advocate while I can. Perhaps they will find a soft spot and help resolve the current seeming impasse. In the meantime I look good fighting an increase facing the people of Bridgeport.
Offstage: The WPCA has several current issues, budget and otherwise, ongoing. Trumbull has an agreement with Bridgeport on sewage that is due for update. Will there be rate increases in order? How will the Mayor position himself on these? What is being hammered out in “multiple executive sessions?” Can we review the definition of “hypocrite?” Time will tell.
John, I didn’t think to post it here since I usually just read the blog without commenting. I did post info about the hearing on the Black Rock community FB page on Monday when I found out about it but now realize I missed an opportunity for encouraging wider participation.
Sheepthrills you said, “I didn’t see any of you at the hearing speaking up on behalf of the citizens of Bridgeport.” Now you are saying, “I did post info about the hearing on the Black Rock community FB page on Monday when I found out about it but now realize I missed an opportunity for encouraging wider participation.” That becomes the problem, the outreach is NOT citywide but just Black Rock, in fact I believe percentage-wise there are more people from Black Rock who post on OIB than any other section of Bridgeport.
Do you have a problem with informed people speaking up on issues that affect the City? I do not think you do. Do you have a problem with them discovering the issues are City wide, not just for a neighborhood? Probably not.
So help us out, please. Where are the other activists in other sections of the City who have created blogs, who attend meetings of relevant City Council committees, who write to newspapers (and wonder why so many efforts are not printed)? If you know them, identify them please. Spread the word.
Lennie didn’t create OIB for folks from the North End or the Hollow, and he did not call the site ONLY IN BLACK ROCK either. Use your voice positively to show what other neighborhoods have going for them created in their own ‘hood. That’s the wonderful nature of the current technology.
STOP WAITING FOR BIG BROTHER TO SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS. NEVER HAPPEN. AND BROTHER IS NOT GOING TO SOLVE THE ISSUES HIS SIZE AND REACH HAVE CREATED BY DUMBING DOWN THE PUBLIC!
We are in a ‘bulletless’ form of war, fighting for the hearts and minds of the people. Libraries for the people and voting rights are heart and mind issues and the people prevailed. Why not help the people you care about find their voice in common with a lot of others suffering the tyranny of the machine? Time will tell.
Ron, it was coincidental I heard about the hearing myself so I passed along the info on the vehicle I am most familiar with. I guess all customers were informed of the hearings via some insert in our bills most people just toss without reading, or some attachment we didn’t open if we get our bills electronically or some public notice the public doesn’t care to notice. Getting people interested in being involved is a very old problem. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
My original comment could and should have been less pointed. It just irked me to hear the Mayor criticized when he was actually doing right by Bridgeport. I am not a supporter of his by any means, but what’s right is right (as I see it, anyway).