Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Applauds DPUC For CNG Rate Increase Rejection; Urges Further Cuts To Protect Ratepayers

June 15, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today commended the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) for its preliminary decision to reject Connecticut Natural Gas Company's rate increase request and instead reduce rates by more than $16 million from their current levels -- but urged the DPUC to cut even deeper.

CNG initially sought a $16.4 million -- or 4.4 percent -- rate increase, and then diminished its requested increase to $7.4 million. Blumenthal argued that the rate increase should be rejected and instead slashed because the company's own petition reveals that gas price costs plummeted lower than expected, and CNG had vastly overstated its costs for salaries, payroll, retirement and profit level.

"This draft decision is a strong first step and sends a clear message to CNG and all other utility companies in the state -- to tighten belts, just as consumers have done," Blumenthal said. "The DPUC's draft rightly recognizes that CNG has not shared the pain of the economic crisis -- and even requiring that the company present a plan to manage its expenses to reflect current economic conditions.

"The DPUC is on the right road -- but now comes the true test. The DPUC must not only hold to its strong initial decision, but seek to make even further cuts to ensure that consumers' rates are no higher than necessary.

"My office will continue the fight -- filing written exceptions before a final decision is issued -- to protect CNG's customers from unfairly high rates."