AG Tong Calls On Eversource to Forgo 2021 Rate Hike
(Hartford, CT) – In video testimony submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority today, Attorney General William Tong called on Eversource to forgo its planned 2021 rate hike request and commit to real cost saving measures for consumers. The comments were submitted as part of PURA’s hearing and investigation into the “unjustifiable and unsustainable” delivery charge hike that contributed to major increases in electricity bills in the midst of a global pandemic and unusually hot summer. In addition to this summer’s delivery charge hike, Eversource plans to ask PURA for a rate hike in mid-2021.
“People in Connecticut can’t pay more. They just can’t. These increases cannot stand,” Attorney General Tong said in the video. “Eversource must step up and do what it can to help ratepayers and Connecticut families right now who are in such need of help and relief from their utility company. I’m demanding today that Eversource forgo its application and that it agree right now that it will not seek rates increases next year in 2021.”
The Office of the Attorney General filed a series of interrogatories seeking to understand the full range of costs contributing to this summer’s massive bill increases, additional factors that could impact future rates, and possible changes that could be made by regulators or the legislature to lower rates for consumers going forward.
Eversource comes before PURA for a rate petition every four years, and without fail seeks an increase in rates. PURA has approved a rate increase in every past Eversource proceeding, albeit always lower than what the utility initially requests. The Office of the Attorney General intervenes on behalf of consumers in each and every rate case before PURA.
There are three components that make up your energy bill—how much you use, the cost of the energy itself, and the cost of delivering that energy to you. Effective July 1, the amount that Eversource charges for the energy itself (their standard service rate) decreased by about 2 cents per kWh. For an average consumer consuming 700 kWhs a month, that’s about $14 less per month on their bill. But there were two substantial increases to the delivery charge authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and by the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority (PURA). The first was a federally mandated transmission charge that increased from 2.601 to 3.785 cents per kWh, amounting to $8.29 more per month for the average customer. The second was a legislatively mandated charge to support carbon free generation to help the state meet its regional greenhouse gas emissions standards that amounts to a $10.24 monthly increase for the average consumer. Those three adjustments taken together amount to an average of $5.80 more per month for the average consumer, according to Eversource. That is on top of the additional consumption we are seeing as a result of more people spending more time at home running air conditioners, computers, and other electronics.
Attorney General Tong has also joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in urging FERC to rescind the transmission charge increase and rebate consumers for what has already been paid for this past year.
The Office of the Attorney General is also aggressively participating in the separate PURA investigation into the failed Eversource response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
Assistant Attorneys General Lauren Bidra, John Wright and Consumer Protection Department Head Michael Wertheimer are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.