Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Praises DPUC For Demanding UI Restore Capital Improvement Spending

June 3, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today praised the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) for its May 26 letter demanding that United Illuminating (UI) restore cuts to its capital spending or face a possible rate reduction.

Blumenthal also called on UI to use the $91.4 million raised in its recent stock offering to help fully fund necessary improvements to operations and critical capital projects.

In the letter, DPUC questioned the company's decision to slash capital spending about $50 million in response to the commission's denial of a rate hike request. The commission expressed concern that the reductions threaten safety and reliability and gave UI until June 9 to indicate whether it will restore the cuts. If it fails to do so, DPUC said it would consider reducing UI's rates.

"I am pleased that the DPUC heeded my concerns and is holding UI's feet to the fire," Blumenthal said. "The commission explicitly states it agrees with me that UI's reductions to its capital improvement budget are unjustified, threatening safety and reliability. I welcome DPUC's demand that UI restore the cuts and consideration of rate reductions if it refuses.

"Now, the $91.4 million raised by UI from stock sales should be used for improvements to service and reliability -- leading to lower, not higher, rates. UI's ability to easily raise $91.4 million in capital shows it never needed higher profits or rates.

"UI's slashing of its capital budget is driven by greed, putting profits before safety and reliability -- clearly requiring aggressive investigation by the DPUC. UI forgets its deal with consumers: the right to collect just and reasonable rates in return for safe and reliable service. UI is arrogantly demanding ratepayer money, while failing its duty to provide a steady and dependable power supply.

"The DPUC has opened a formal docket on my request that it investigate UI's unconscionable cuts to capital and other budgets and order the money restored or slash the company's rates. I welcome the city of New Haven's decision to join my call for an investigation and action to hold UI accountable."