Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls Southern CT Gas 15-Percent Rate Hike Request Unconscionable

January 20, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today said he will fight every cent of Southern Connecticut Gas Company's request to raise rates by $50.1 million, barely four months after it was ordered to return millions of dollars in unjust overearnings.

Southern filed an application with the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) today seeking a $50.1 million -- or 15.2 percent -- rate increase. If approved, Southern residential heating customers will pay an average of more than $19 per month, in some cases much more.

This request follows an order by the DPUC late last year, as Blumenthal requested, that Southern immediately decrease rates by $15 million a year to compensate for unapproved overearnings.

Southern's request follows a request late last week by Connecticut Natural Gas to raise rates by $16.4 million, or 4.4 percent -- months after Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), like Southern, was also ordered to return $15.5 million in overearnings.

"Southern should learn how to stretch its dollar -- just as its own consumers, and the entire country, are forced to do in this economic climate," Blumenthal said. "My office will fight this unconscionable rate increase in its entirety.

"This rate request is an insult to consumers -- both in scope and timing -- as consumers fight to keep their homes and jobs, and mere months after Southern and CNG were ordered to slash their rates after months of overearnings.

"My office will fight for fairness -- which is no unwarranted and unjust rate increases in the midst of this economic meltdown."