Attorney General Tong Calls on Eversource and United Illuminating to Contribute Greater Share of Profits to Ratepayer Relief During Extraordinary Spike in Winter Energy Costs
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong released the following statement today calling on Eversource and United Illuminating to contribute a greater share of their profits to ratepayer relief to lessen the crushing burden of the extraordinary spike in winter energy costs.
Attorney General Tong had been participating in rate relief negotiations with the two utilities and state leaders over the past week. He has asked Eversource and United Illuminating to contribute roughly 10 percent of their substantial earnings—or approximately $40 million for Eversource and $8 million for United Illuminating. Attorney General Tong has proposed to use those funds for direct rate relief for low and middle income families least able to bear this burden. Absent a significant commitment from the two utilities, the Office of the Attorney General has not joined today’s filing with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and will continue to press for more meaningful aid.
“Today’s filing will provide modest relief to Connecticut families crushed by the unaffordable spike in winter energy costs. It is an important first step and the discussions we have had over the past week have been sincere. That being said, I have asked Eversource and United Illuminating to do more. Specifically, I have asked them to contribute a percentage of shareholder earnings commensurate with the percentage increase their customers will pay this winter to keep their lights and heat on. To date, they have refused. Absent that, we are left with solutions that provide only modest relief, and are paid for by and large by the very same taxpayers and ratepayers already crushed by this crisis. That is both frustrating and unacceptable. This filing must be the start of our search for relief, not the end. Taxpayers and ratepayers are contributing to these solutions, and so too should the shareholders and executives who have done so well over the past several years. We pay far too much for our energy in Connecticut and this problem is not going away. We need to take a hard look at who is profiting and who is harmed as we search for long term reform,” said Attorney General Tong. “I thank Governor Lamont, Commissioner Dykes, and Consumer Counsel Coleman for their diligent efforts throughout the holiday weekend to identify solutions and look forward to continued discussions toward greater relief.”
Eversource and United Illuminating make no profit on supply rates, which are set through a competitive auction. The Office of the Attorney General cannot challenge these rates or intervene in the same way that the Office does with distribution rates. That being said, Eversource and United Illuminating earn a healthy profit on their distribution investments, regardless of economic conditions and challenges facing Connecticut families. They earn another lucrative rate of return on their transmission infrastructure investments. While they are not directly responsible for the latest spike in winter supply rates, they are undeniably in a strong position to assist. CL&P (Eversource in Connecticut) reported a net income of $540 million for Sept. 2021 through Sept. 2022. United Illuminating reported $59 million in net income during that same period.
In addition to the winter supply rate, United Illuminating has filed a request with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to increase distribution rates by approximately 8 percent over the next three years. Eversource is expected to file its distribution rate request next year. The Office of the Attorney General will aggressively seek relief for ratepayers in both of those proceedings.