Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Urges DPUC To Reject $31 Million Water Rate Hike

July 12, 2010

            Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, in a brief filed today, said Aquarion Water Company’s proposed $31 million rate increase is excessive, unwarranted and should be rejected.

            The proposed increase would raise rates by $31 million a year over a three-year period, compounding a $22 million increase imposed within the past three years impacting 600,000 Connecticut water consumers in 39 towns and cities.

Blumenthal said the company has failed to demonstrate that such a massive rate increase is necessary or appropriate. To the contrary, Aquarion overstated its expenses and actually seeks to bolster its return on equity to a rate higher than any other utility in the state at 10.6 percent, increase salaries and provide employee bonuses.

            “Aquarion is living in an alternate financial universe -- increasing salaries, benefits, bonuses and income when its consumers face unemployment or salary cuts,” Blumenthal said. “The DPUC should entirely reject this $31 million rate increase, which is loaded with excessive and unnecessary costs at the worst possible economic time.

            “When many consumers have lost jobs and income, and are conserving money to overcome economic disaster, Aquarion is opening the dam -- flowing money towards increased salaries and bonuses. Consumers should not be forced to pay for bonuses that benefit shareholders and not ratepayers.

            “In this declining economy, the DPUC should lower and not increase Aquarion’s rates. Connecticut’s utility ratepayers have endured unprecedented and punishing rate hikes over the past four years. Connecticut’s electricity prices alone have doubled and are currently the highest in the continental United States.”