Governor Lamont and Attorney General Tong Applaud PURA Approval of Eversource Accountability Plan
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Attorney General William Tong today are applauding approval by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) of the $103.4 million Eversource accountability plan they announced earlier this month. The agreement will increase local accountability and control, and return $103.4 million back to Connecticut families following significant deficiencies in the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The agreement also stabilizes electric distribution rates until at least January 2024.
“I applaud PURA for approving this settlement, which puts money back into ratepayers’ pockets and provides new and necessary accountability for Eversource,” Governor Lamont said. “This progress happened as a result of a significant storm that impacted hundreds of thousands of residents, and then this settlement was reached after more than a year of a thorough process that involved hearing from ratepayers, elected officials, and the publicly regulated utility. The end result is immediate savings for consumers on their upcoming energy bills, and a level of accountability which shows our residents that a company providing power in our state must answer to those within our borders. This clears the way for PURA to make real progress on performance-based ratemaking, which I have championed since the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias. The settlement also provides certainty to Eversource customers about the remedies they will receive as a result of Eversource’s poor performance in response to Tropical Storm Isaias by disposing of legal claims related to the storm penalty decisions.”
“This agreement forces significant governance changes at Eversource and directs $103.4 million back to Connecticut families following serious failures in the company’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias,” Attorney General Tong said. “I thank PURA for their thorough and diligent review of this agreement, and for their sustained efforts to hold Eversource accountable. I will work closely with PURA as this agreement is implemented to ensure every term is honored and that Connecticut families see the safe and reliable service they are owed. Although this settlement is concluded, my work is not done. I will continue to aggressively monitor Eversource’s performance and will hold them accountable whenever and wherever necessary.”
The agreement directs $65 million in Eversource funds to be immediately returned to customers in the form of two credits on their December and January bills. The average customer will see a $35 total credit. Eversource further has agreed not to appeal a $28.4 million penalty levied by PURA due to the inadequate response to Isaias. Ratepayers are currently seeing this as a credit on their bills under “TS Isaias Performance Penalty.” Eversource has agreed not to apply for a rate increase until at least January 2023 for rates that could not take place until at least January 2024. The settlement ensures this significant ratepayer relief now and avoids years of potential legal challenges.
The remaining $10 million will be used to assist customers who are having difficulty paying their utility bills. All customers are currently eligible to participate in a 24-month payment plan – without fees or interest – to pay down any arrearage they have and to avoid any service disconnection. Residents are encouraged to contact Eversource at 800-286-2828 or visit www.eversource.com/billhelp to access assistance.
The agreement will require Eversource to create a new Connecticut-based president of Connecticut Light & Power to improve local accountability and control and to add new seats to its governance board for representatives from Connecticut. Eversource will also commit to continuing and enhancing its Connecticut-based training and apprenticeship programs to ensure statewide access to line worker career opportunities and adequate staffing of line workers in Connecticut.
The agreement between Eversource, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Office of Consumer Counsel settles Phase IIa (Interim Rate Decrease) of PURA Docket No. 17-12-03RE11 and the implementation of a storm penalty imposed by PURA following Tropical Storm Isaias.